Alex Iwobi reaffirmed his qualities in attack for Arsenal as the Gunners thumped Premier League strugglers Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. It was simply a question of seeing the game out when the Nigerian’s first shot on target of the game deflected in off Jack Cork for an own goal to make it 2-0.
Arsene Wenger’s side were rampant and after a drab first half where they failed to get out of first gear other than Olivier Giroud’s prodded finish, the handbrake came off in the second as they comprehensively turned over a disappointing Swans team. Despite the scoreline, Swansea were by no means out of the game until Arsenal scored their second goal, with Paul Clement’s side showing glimpses of their attacking qualities in the first half.
Iwobi’s selection ahead of the in-form Lucas Perez surprised many when the teams were announced an hour before kick-off. Spanish forward Perez, who has a goal/assist every 67 minutes this season, produced another sublime performance in the FA Cup comeback at Preston a week previous - but Wenger’s decision to play 20-year-old Iwobi proved the right one as his marauding, direct runs down the left hand side produced two important goals for Arsenal in their convincing victory in Wales.
"And I hope that these goals he scores now will give him the taste as well to go [into positions] where he can finish it off”, Wenger recently said about Iwobi.
“Scoring goals is always a science, when a guy starts to score goals in training they come in games. And he has that now, in training he starts to score goals. I'm sure he will score as well in the games.”
Although both of Iwobi's efforts on target ended up in the net thanks to help from two Swansea players, it was the performance and character shown by the youngster which will have left Wenger feeling justified in his decision to start the winger. The academy product is living his dream right now and has put to bed the recent criticism that he doesn't score enough by finding his way in front of goal.
Goals have been easy to come by for Arsenal this season and they’ve now scored the joint-most goals in the Premier League with Liverpool (48). The defence has improved with the addition of Shkodran Mustafi who has still - amazingly - yet to lose a game for the Gunners since arriving from Valencia in September.
As a rainbow took it’s place over the Liberty Stadium it seemed as if Arsenal’s title charge could be back on track after a performance which would have surely sent a message to their rivals. With apparent discontent amongst Chelsea’s star man and Liverpool looking inconsistent, there’s no pot of gold for the Gunners just yet but if they continue to grind out the results when it matters, then that may become the reality.