Leeds Offer A Stern Test In Alex Iwobi’s New Wing-Back Role

Leeds Offer A Stern Test In Alex Iwobi’s New Wing-Back Role


Provided he surpasses the challenge from Bielsa’s side this weekend, the Nigeria international may have found a new opportunity in life at Everton.

Despite his pedigree as a coach, Carlo Ancelotti has never been one to play too much with his team’s form from game to game.

So when Everton’s lineup for last weekend’s trip to Craven Cottage was announced, everyone naturally envisioned Alex Iwobi in a central role within the Toffees’ usual 4-3-3. That would have been the ultimate wish: There is a growing clamor for the former Arsenal player to be used in a more central role than he has been given since moving to Merseyside last summer.

The reality, however, turned out quite differently.

Instead, the Premier League crowd was treated to the spectacle of the Nigerian international flying down the right flank in a full-back role, as Ancelotti sent his side on a 3-4-3 run. It was a curve ball that gave an air of intrigue to the kickoff, and Iwobi further played his part in a five-goal thriller, tormenting Antonee Robinson over and over again and playing a major role and slalom in second for the Toffees. . the afternoon.

“It’s not something I’ve done much,” he told Everton’s official website after the game, “but wherever they tell me to play, I try to do my best.”

Their deployment there was, of course, a matter of necessity. Seamus Coleman’s injury, as well as a couple of lame performances from Ben Godfrey on the right-back, likely informed the system change, and is an indicator of Iwobi’s intelligence that he was able to place himself where he was needed.

Sadly, that intelligence has also been hard to sell among Everton’s support since his arrival at the club.

To be fair, the € 30m outlay to get him away from Arsenal means that expectations were understandably high. For a club of the stature of Everton, that’s a game-changing transfer fee; instead, they’ve been dealt with a player whose strengths don’t jump off the page and who doesn’t run a game as much as they flow with it.

As such, it can often appear that he only plays well when the team does, and within a system that is a work in progress, this manifests as inconsistency. So maybe this new role, based almost entirely on getting on and off the line, that is, replay, could be the best way for fans to really appreciate the qualities he possesses.

It’s a phenomenon that has been witnessed before, especially in the remarkable turn of events that made the excess-to-requirements winger Victor Moses a linchpin of victory at Chelsea three years ago. As with Iwobi, it was necessary to line up the former Nigerian international at a time never before seen as a full-back, but gradually a greater appreciation for the talented but insecure forward began to form, culminating in a historic season for the Blues.

Along the same lines, this reinvention of Iwobi could very well be the necessary turnaround for a club career that seemed in danger of stalling. That is, of course, if the move is permanent.

For all that the 24-year-old stood out against Fulham, Scott Parker’s team is third from the bottom and has the worst defensive record in the league. It’s also worth noting the fact that as the hosts got more into the game in the second period, Iwobi seemed to drift further and further from the game.

“Sometimes with my defensive position, I wouldn’t know where to be,” he later admitted.

There will be tougher tests to come, one of which is Leeds this weekend.

Marcelo Bielsa’s team has struggled for consistency in terms of results since being promoted this season, but it is one of the most peculiar challenges in the Premier League. Their relentless career and seemingly limitless energy always pose a threat, and it’s unlikely they can afford Everton, and Iwobi, the kind of room they enjoyed in London last weekend.

It remains to be seen if Ancelotti would be willing to put Iwobi on the firing line in that way, and if the former Arsenal player could stay on the defensive in that eventuality. Leeds attack noticeably much more on the left, so they will likely have to spend most of the game taking care of their defensive duties.

That being said, perhaps it is precisely Iwobi’s clarity and ability to beat a man on dribbling that Everton need in a game against a team that scores conspicuously one-on-one across the field. His participation in the Toffees’ prep game was a particular highlight last time, and in the future he has the tools to pose his own questions to either Ezgjan Alioski or Stuart Dallas on the Leeds left.

It would certainly be a gamble, but perhaps nothing tells us more about the degree of confidence that Ancelotti has in the converted midfielder than the Italian’s willingness to face him.

source: – target