Arsenal are still trying to maximize Alex Iwobi, but if it has everything to do with confidence, then the lad may have found a sweet spot.
So much of what a footballer does has to do with confidence. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t believe in that talent, than you aren’t going to be able to maximize it. This has been the plight of many Arsenal players, especially throughout recent years, but it’s doubly true with Alex Iwobi.
The young Nigerian burst onto the scene as a teenager and had all the confidence in the world. It was confidence he had gained from playing outside of the top tier. That confidence allowed him to carry himself with belief in what he was doing and it worked wonderfully.
When that confidence faltered at the start of the following season, it never came back. And for two years, the Gunners have been trying to figure out how to get him back to that sweet spot of believing in himself long enough to get to the actual talent.
Iwobi may have been at his absolute best against FC Vorskla. And don’t tell me that the opposition was lacking. Of course it was. But that’s not the point. Much like I pointed out in my Aubameyang article earlier, Iwobi was out there to build confidence.
And the lad has never looked more confident. His direct style of play that made him so special was back on display in a big way, as he drove fearlessly into the teeth of the defense, just like he used to, and, just like it used to, it worked.
Emery has already been experimenting with Iwobi in the starting XI of the Premier League and while that is certainly enough to cause a bit of hesitation with fans, it may be a massive contributing factor to Iwobi’s growing confidence. If he can believe he is on the same playing field as the likes of Ozil and Mkhitaryan, then the best of Iwobi will come home to roost.
And that’s the key. The key is to divorce him from the fluctuations that a need for confidence can bring and find a base that he can revert to even when the confidence isn’t there.
As for right now, Iwobi put in one of the more confident performances of the season, as he showed next to no hesitation, as he had been in the Premier League. And it may be possible that he is our most confident player at the moment.