With his manically short strides and bouncing hair, Iwobi can give the impression of being permanently in a hurry — one social media user joked recently that he dribbles like he is five minutes late for a team meeting — but it is a style that can prove hard for defenders to manage. And, as he pointed out last week, he has been involved in the build-up — providing the “pre-assist,” if you will — for plenty of Arsenal’s goals this season.
“He is young,” said Emery. “He has a big commitment. He needs to improve, tactically maybe also, some things but above all he needs to be calm with the ball in the attacking third, to have more assists and create more possibilities to score. To know when to shoot and when to dribble.”
Despite some of those jeers, Iwobi remains a long way from being the problem for Arsenal. That prize goes to the defence, which continues to exude an air of nervousness. Huddersfield had not scored in 597 minutes of football before Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac toed in a late own goal on Saturday, and the worrying truth is that the home side could easily have had two.
Arsenal remain the only side in the Premier League without a clean sheet away from home this season. Simply put, they must solidify if they are to stand any chance of finishing in the top four. “We have to work on this because the defence for me is the most [important] thing to enable us to get back into the top four,” said goalkeeper Bernd Leno. “It’s easy to say the goalkeeper and the defence are the reasons why we don’t concede many goals, but it is the whole team. The whole team has to defend and we have improved from December, when maybe we had some games where we were not so good.”
For Huddersfield, the end appears near even if there was encouragement to be taken from this defeat. “If it [safety] is mathematically possible then we have to believe it can happen,” said Karlan Grant, who impressed off the bench in his second appearance since signing from Charlton Athletic.