Rising Arsenal star just needs to take leaf out of Theo’s books



Arsenal to win the Premier League

Being related to a top-level professional footballer offers no guarantee of similar success, yet within Arsenal’s ranks there is a young player whose family ties are very much in evidence.

At just 20 years old and fast becoming a fixture in the Gunners line up, Alex Iwobi, aka the nephew of former Premier League star Jay Jay Okocha, may just go on to eclipse his uncle’s list of achievements at this rate.

Iwobi’s career trajectory has risen so sharply since breaking into the Arsenal first team as an academy graduate last season that the Emirates hierarchy have felt compelled to offer their charge a fresh contract a mere six months on from penning his last one.

Having witnessed the Nigerian international’s rapid rise, it’s easy to see why the Londoners are so keen to renew his terms.

Iwobi is blessed with so many attributes…

Iwobi is highly skilfull, has brilliant awareness and vision when an attack develops and is no slouch across the turf. These are all attributes that have caused Arsene Wenger to place great faith.

The Frenchman has granted him four Premier League starts and both Champions League matches in 2016/17 and whether or not it was the boss’s masterplan to stick Alexis Sanchez at centre-forward this term, displacing the Chilean superstar on the left is arguably Iwobi’s greatest accolade to date.

If the athletic forward is to really push on into realms where other emerging Gunners such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may have stalled slightly, he must rectify one big issue; goals.

…he doesn’t score enough though

When he scored in his first two starts for Arsenal last season against Everton and Watford, it seemed like hitting the net would come very easily to Iwobi, yet they remain his only goals in 28 appearances to date.

While he offers his teammates plenty of incision in the final third – as his seasonal tally of three assists and seven clear cut chances created in the league suggest – firing off just one shot on target from eight attempts (five blocked) is below par for someone in his position.

Theo is the benchmark to aim for

Compare that to his opposite number Theo Walcott on the right flank, who has three goals to his name, registered 11 shots on target and has attempted 18 shots in the box, in two more appearances, and it’s an area in need of improvement.

Iwobi is also goalless in six games for the Super Eagles, so practicing the art of shooting is the name of the game before the top-flight kicks back into action in a fortnight.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.