Alex Iwobi: The resurgence
Iwobi is enjoying his best period since moving to Everton in the summer of 2019 and was instrumental in the Toffees’ late-season run that saw them retain their Premier League status.
The former Arsenal attacking midfielder carried that form into four games for Nigeria under Jose Peseiro, fulfilling multiple roles for the Portuguese manager.
The story of last season
Everton’s strong start under Rafael Benitez proved to be short-lived and Iwobi soon became a lightning rod for criticism.
The opprobrium came to a head after a defeat by Brentford and the Nigerian was not spared.
Africa Cup of Nations duty did not help as the 26-year-old was sent off minutes after his introduction in the Super Eagles’ Round of 16 defeat by Tunisia.
He returned to a club in crisis with Frank Lampard replacing the jettisoned Benitez, but this proved to be a turning point.
Iwobi’s versatility and tenacity made him became a vital component of the Englishman’s side, featuring in multiple positions as the Merseyside club won their battle for survival.
The Super Eagle started and completed the last 12 Premier League games of the season.
Any transfer rumours?
Had the Nigeria international not experienced the upswing in performances under Lampard, he probably would be one of the names on the transfer list at Everton.
Having said that, Iwobi’s current contract has only two years left to run and potentially interested parties could monitor his situation over the next months to a year.
For the time being, the player looks set to stay put on Merseyside.
One big hope for 2022/23
Without a doubt, there is a desire to see the 26-year-old score more goals and register a higher number of assists going forward.
The Nigerian netted only twice and assisted as many over 22 starts (28 appearances altogether) and more direct goal contributions represent the next step in the player’s development.
Those four Premier League involvements were Iwobi’s highest since moving to the Toffees and since his final year in North London, highlighting how much of a challenge it has been to consistently deliver in the attacking third.
Indeed, outdoing last term’s numbers must be the minimum goal for the Super Eagle in the forthcoming campaign.
One big fear for 2022/23
Reverting to the old, inconsistent Iwobi who struggled to cement a place in the Everton XI in his opening years at Goodison Park.
The Nigeria international did well to outdo the competition to start regularly at the backend of last season and it would be a shame if he found himself on the periphery of the side in Lampard’s first full season at the club.
It will not only increase fans’ unoriginal criticism of him but suggest he has a ceiling that may never be surpassed.
GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23
It will require a lot of hard work and getting into the right positions, but we are backing the Super Eagle to register double figures for direct goal contributions so long he keeps his spot in the Everton side.
For the national team, the flexible midfielder ought to have a huge role under Peseiro as Nigeria mount a serious challenge in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in Ivory Coast.