Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi was once again an unused substitute and left to watch from the bench as his teammates emerged victorious against Manchester United in Sunday’s Premier League clash. The Nigerian international had been ever-present this season but suffered a dip in form in Spring which has since led to him picking up more game time in the reserves than the first-team.
Iwobi has made 24 Premier League appearances this season, 18 starts, scoring and creating six goals for Arsenal. The 21-year-old was seen as one of the breakthrough players of the season before the turn of the year and his influence waned in games. Iwobi has scored just one goal in the Premier League since New Year’s Day and hasn’t made an assist since September 2016.
The midfielder’s last start in the top-flight was April’s 3-1 to Liverpool. He was reduced to substitute appearances of 12 and 13 minutes respectively before being an unused substitute in five of the six games that followed. He was selected for the Arsenal reserve team on April 10. Despite the lack of first-team football, Iwobi is still held in high regard, having signed a long-term deal in 2016 to keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2020.
While Arsenal still in with a shout of sealing Champions League football for next season it’s unlikely manager Arsene Wenger will use fringe players in the run-in. Arsenal are 3/1 to finish in the top-four of the Premier League, and until that’s no longer mathematically possible, previously left out players aren’t expected to feature.
Iwobi is still somewhat in the manager’s estimates as he is selected in the matchday squad and his teammates celebrate with him in games, but will he feature again before this season comes to a close?