I don’t really know how Arsenal threw away a 2 goal lead, even with a further 2 goals from West Ham disallowed. What an utter shambles of a football club we have. And you can’t blame anyone but Wenger (and all those that won’t challenge him) because this happens every season with a different set of players. It’s not difficult to suss out where the problems stem from. Onto the game, which was a real shame, Arsenal looked in control, playing with composure and energy and then they hit the self-destruct button. However, at the heart of all the good stuff were two players, Elneny, who grows in stature with each game, and Alex Iwobi, who is absolutely a future star.
There’s not much to get excited about at this stage of the season for an Arsenal fan, tuning in to watch the same disappointments – it is becoming incredibly boring. Thankfully, some of the players are maintaining a level of composure and they’re the two mentioned above. I’ll talk a little bit about both, but in terms of who’s been Arsenal’s stand-out player this week, you’d have to say it’s the young Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian picked up another two assists in only his third Premier League start, which is an eye-opening statistic, not to mention his goals in between and his all round play. Others have mentioned it, but the most impressive thing about him is his composure for someone so inexperienced at this level, and not only does he bring composure, but he compliments it with efficiency – 2 goals and 3 or 4 assists, or thereabouts. His first on Saturday afternoon was a simple through ball to Ozil, who took it calmly and promised a good day ahead, of course, Arsenal fans should know better than to get excited. It’s all becoming an act, just to keep fans clinging on to the prospect of better things, that never, ever, come to fruition. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I feel like I’m being taken for a ride. Anyway, fantastic start to the afternoon for our young star. And he went one better for his next assist, teeing up Alexis with a delicate, lofted ball over the defence. It was the sort of ingenuity that Arsenal often lack in the final third, especially around the box, where a lot of the players pass side to side in the hope that the defence magically let’s them through. But that lofted ball from Iwobi highlights the dynamism he brings to the attack, and dynamism is a word I keep falling back on when describing his impact on the team, but I feel it’s the one that fits best. He is a unique talent.
And then there’s Elneny, the Egyptian mastermind behind Arsenal’s restored energy and balance. His impact is definitely showing, despite Arsenal’s recurring implosions. For me, he was at the base of everything good in the West Ham game, until Andy Caroll ruined everything. Elneny’s awareness for the game is second to none, and so far, he compliments Coquelin’s messy side very well. There’s talk of Xhaka coming this summer, and I’m not sure where he fits? Of course, he’s another big talent on the rise, and I wouldn’t say no. It would be harsh on Elneny or Coquelin though, as one will surely miss out on the arrival of another defensive midfielder – but then again, Arsenal do get twenty injuries a season, so it does make sense to go overkill on players this summer, which has been promised before… and we got… a goalkeeper. Another thing about Elneny, wasn’t it great how he was Arsenal’s best player away to Barcelona? He could be a rough diamond. And to emphasise the energy he brings to the midfield, he sprints off when subbed. In short, I have loved every minute of watching him play during the back-end of this turbulent season. I think you’d have to be cold to not have been impressed by the level of his displays since coming into the side. Elneny’s presence in midfield makes everything run that little bit smoother, and his long legs can carry. He’s still only 23, things can only get better for him.
I think it’s safe to say that the thin strand of hope remaining has now gone, and with Leicester continuing to charge ahead, it would now be a travesty if this wasn’t their year. From an Arsenal perspective, it’s good that the likes of Iwobi are coming through and contributing. But it just isn’t enough.