Why Iwobi didn’t feature in Arsenal’s win over Cardiff City

In the Premier League match at the Cardiff City stadium, Arsenal managed to beat the newly promoted home side Cardiff City 3:2 even though they were properly tested by the Welsh team. One notable absence from Arsenal’s squad was Alex Iwobi, the young Nigerian international. He had started the previous two games, against Chelsea and West Ham, after being a substitute in the opening match against the champions, Manchester City. The highly rated forward even scored an equalizer against Chelsea before Arsenal went on to lose the game. Even though he was substituted by Emery at halftime against West Ham, many felt he deserved to start today. However, he was omitted from the squad list given to the media before kick-off.

The rumour mill suggested that the manager wanted to start Alexandre Lacazette which meant Iwobi would be on the bench for the trip to Cardiff. After appearing at this year’s World Cup in Russia, he was also called up for international duty with the Nigerian national team playing Seychelles on September 8th, so many thought the absence had something to do with that. To stop the rumours, Arsenal manager Unai Emery, in an interview before the game, said to Sky Sports that Iwobi wasn’t in the 18-man squad because of illness. He didn’t specify what kind of illness it was.

Alex Iwobi (www.arsenal.com)

Immediately after he joined Arsenal while he was still in Primary School, the staff at the club knew that he had talent and great potential. He appeared in the first team in 2013 as a substitute in a League Cup match against West Bromwich Albion. In 2015 he signed a contract with Arsenal which would see him at the club until 2018. So far he has scored 10 goals for Arsenal in all competitions.

As far as international appearances are concerned, Alex Iwobi played for the England youth before deciding he would play for the Super Eagles. Football runs in the family as Alex is the nephew of one of Nigeria’s greatest footballing legends, Jay-Jay Okocha.

Arsene Wenger held Iwobi in high regard, and current Arsenal’s management team has the same opinion. This has been confirmed by the fact that the 22-year old Alex Iwobi just signed a new five-year contract with Arsenal, keeping him in London until 2023. They described his performances in the two matches he played this season as good and a positive influence on the game and other players.

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