Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger says Nigerian international Alex Iwobi is the kind of player who provokes in his game and provokes mistakes from the opponents with the vertical way he plays ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarters against Odion Ighalo’s Watford.
The Nigeria international has been one of the positive surprises of the season, breaking into the first team and impressing with his fluid attacking, range of passing and confidence in his own ability.
Iwobi impressed at the KC Stadium in midweek, and is likely to get his chance again as the Gunners resume their defence of the FA Cup against Watford.
When the Arsenal manager talks of those players who are “slowly emerging to show they have top quality”, it is clear that Iwobi is at the forefront of his mind. Wenger admits he has been taken aback by the 19-year-old’s impact, but says that despite being a quiet character, he has all the attributes to thrive in the first team.
“A modern, top, top player is a guy who has a good combination of humility and ambition – humility off the pitch and ambition on it. That makes real champions.
“Alex is a guy who provokes in his game and provokes mistakes from the opponents with the vertical way he plays.
“That can be expressed on the flanks or through the middle. In fact when he was a youth-team player, he only played on the flanks and I put him in the centre because I liked the way he read the game and the speed of his understanding of the game.
“That is why I would put him in the middle, but he can express his talent in every single offensive position.” Wenger told the Gunners’ official website.
Arsenal have won four of their FA Cup meetings with Watford (L1), including their last clash in the third round, en route to winning the trophy in 2002
The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 21 all-Premier League home FA Cup ties (W15 D6).
Their last such defeat came against Leeds in 1997 Watford have won all three of their FA Cup games this season by a 1-0 scoreline