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Alex Iwobi impresses in Europa League

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The Nigerian has won over a demanding Arsenal fan base

Arsenal v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It’s early days under Unai Emery but one player that appears to be benefiting from the managerial shift is Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian has impressed in limited playing time thus far this season.

Fans really took notice after Iwobi’s performance in Arsenal’s 4-2 Europa League victory over Vorskla Poltava. He was a dominant presence on the left wing and helped control the pace of the match. He also assisted on the Gunners’ opening goal with a perfect pass that found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the box. Iwobi came off to a standing ovation in the 70th minute.

It wasn’t always this way for Iwobi. Last season he was lambasted endlessly by fans who wanted him gone. Every mistake or missed scoring opportunity led to further scorn for the winger.

Here’s an example of what fans were saying about Iwobi then:

Some have speculated that Iwobi is benefiting from the new manager’s training methods. In a recent interview he said:

It’s exciting times to be fair, Everybody’s enjoying and buying into the new ideas. He demands a lot. He’s a lot more intense, a lot of high pressing and keeping the ball so that it benefits us if we have the ball. It’s good for us, especially the attackers who like to have the ball a lot.

The other thing that people seem to be overlooking is the fact that Iwobi just turned 22. He’s been around so long that it’s easy to forget how young he still is. Potential and youth are a powerful combination.

Here’s a sampling of what fans are now saying about Iwobi:

Of course, we live in a “what have you done for me lately world”, and so it’s inevitable that at some point, should he slip up a bit, Alex Iwobi will face more future scrutiny. For now, it’s nice to see that a formerly scorned player is starting to make fans take notice.