Arsenal Boss, Wenger Praises Iwobi

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has again paid glowing praise of Nigeria youngster Alex Iwobi, describing him as “fearless and very mobile” after he notched his second Premier League goal today.

Nephew of legendary Nigeria star Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Iwobi scored after 38 minutes as Arsenal swept past Watford 4-0 at the Emirates.

“He has been here (Arsenal) since he was seven or eight. He’s fearless and very mobile,” Wenger saluted the Nigeria international after his latest exploit.

“I am pleased with his talent, but even more with his attitude and willingness to learn.”

The 19-year-old forward has made seven appearances for ‘The Gunners’ in his debut season in the Premier League – two starts and five as a sub.

Iwobi Outshines Ighalo As Arsenal Stroll Past Watford

Nigeria youngster Alex Iwobi outshone fellow Super Eagles star Odion Ighalo after he scored in Arsenal 4-0 win to further endanger Watford’s survival hopes in the Premier League.

Iwobi, whose appearance for Nigeria was limited after he recovered from food poisoning on international duty last week, struck after 38 minutes courtesy of an assist by Alexis Sanchez, who laid the ball into the path of the youngster who only had to slide home from inside the box.

It was the 19-year-old midfielder’s second goal in the Premier League.

The impressive Iwobi was later substituted in the 74th minute.

Ighalo, on the other hand, was replaced after 46 minutes when he failed to add to his 15-goal tally.

Watford remain on 37 points, three points shy of the magical 40 points many reckon would keep a club up in the English top flight.

It was a sweet revenge for Arsenal, who were sent packing in the quarterfinal of the FA Cup by Watford at The Emirates.

Nigeria youngster Alex Iwobi outshone fellow Super Eagles star Odion Ighalo after he scored in Arsenal 4-0 win to further endanger Watford’s survival hopes in the Premier League.

Iwobi, whose appearance for Nigeria was limited after he recovered from food poisoning on international duty last week, struck after 38 minutes courtesy of an assist by Alexis Sanchez, who laid the ball into the path of the youngster who only had to slide home from inside the box.

It was the 19-year-old midfielder’s second goal in the Premier League.

The impressive Iwobi was later substituted in the 74th minute.

Ighalo, on the other hand, was replaced after 46 minutes when he failed to add to his 15-goal tally.

Watford remain on 37 points, three points shy of the magical 40 points many reckon would keep a club up in the English top flight.

It was a sweet revenge for Arsenal, who were sent packing in the quarterfinal of the FA Cup by Watford at The Emirates.

New Deal In The Offing For Iwobi At Arsenal

According to the Evening Standard, rave of the moment Alex Iwobi is set to receive a 1000% pay increase by Arsenal despite signing an extension just five months ago.

The 19-year-old Iwobi signed his first professional deal in May 2014 with a £850-a-week salary but the new pay package will see the nephew to Nigerian football legend Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha earn £10,000-a-week.

Iwobi is currently enjoying a super breakthrough season with the North Londoners as manager Arsene Wenger has shown tremendous faith in his ability. He was given the nod to feature in a crucial match against Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg and he held his own despite the Gunners eventually crashing out.

However, it was a different story against Everton as the Nigerian youngster was handed his first premier league start and he capped his all-round immaculate display with a killer second goal that helped Arsenal win the game 2-0 and kept them in hunt to win the title for the first time in 12 years.

Already, the English FA are regretting not having him play for the Three Lions after representing them at junior levels as he preferred Nigeria and showed his commitment by arriving first to camp for the double header clash against Egypt in the 2017 African Nations Cup Qualifiers.

The new Arsenal deal will add to Iwobi’s growing reputation as one of the emerging young talents of world football.

Iwobi Scores In First League Start, To Down Everton

Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi’s goals put smiles on the faces of their fans after their recent bad run against Watford FC and Barcelona.

Welbeck latched onto Alexis’s delicious reverse pass, rounded goalkeeper Joel Robles and slot the ball into the back of the net in the the 7th minute to set the tone for Arsenal’s victory.

Welbeck, Iwobi and Alexis constantly interchanged to find pockets of space going forward.

Ospina made a good stop in the 23rd minute by diving to his right to palm away the ball before recovering to prevent a corner.

But a lovely ball over the top from Bellerin set Iwobi off to race through on goal in the 42nd minute and slot through the legs of onrushing Robles.

Robert Martinez, Everton coach, brought in Stones for Besic in the 46th minute to alter the hosts’ formation with five at the back.

Gibbs came on for Ozil, who seemed to have picked up a slight injury in the 74th minute, while Giroud replaced Welbeck in the 75th minute.

Chambers also came on for Iwobi in the 86th minute.

Lukaku tried to salvage something for the home team in the 88th minute, heading the ball towards Ospina’s bottom corner, but the keeper made a good save.

The victory saw Arsenal close the gap on Leicester to 8 points, but the surprise leaders look set to restore the 11-point gulf, as they were leading Crystal palace away at half time, as of the time of filing this report.

Watford End Arsenal’s FA Cup Reign, While United Get Another Chance

Holders Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Watford on Sunday, while Anthony Martial’s 83rd-minute goal earned ailing Manchester United a 1-1 draw with West Ham United.

Goals by Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura ended Arsenal’s two-year reign as FA Cup holders as Watford won 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium to join Crystal Palace and Everton in Monday’s semifinal draw.

Manchester United looked set to follow Arsenal out of the competition after Dimitri Payet put West Ham ahead with a stunning free-kick at Old Trafford, but French forward Martial spared manager Louis van Gaal from another wave of unflattering headlines with a late volleyed equaliser.

“Our fantastic run has come to an end on a day where we felt that our performance deserved a win,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side replied through substitute Danny Welbeck in the 88th minute.

“Credit to Watford — they created few chances, but took them all. It’s sad because we gave everything.”

Triumphant in the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015, Arsenal were beaten in the competition for the first time since a 1-0 fifth-round defeat by Blackburn Rovers in February 2013.

It left them facing the prospect of a trophyless season, with Wenger’s side — booed off at the final whistle — eight points off the pace in the Premier League and 2-0 down to Barcelona ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 return leg at Camp Nou.

Wenger named a strong team for the visit of Watford, but despite dominating possession Arsenal struggled to create chances in the first half, with Mohamed Elneny sweeping one effort over the bar.

Arsenal centre-back Gabriel, meanwhile, was very fortunate to escape without even a booking after flying into a two-footed challenge on Troy Deeney with his studs raised.

Watford made the breakthrough in the 50th minute as Deeney flicked a left-wing throw-in to Ighalo, who turned, held off Gabriel and beat David Ospina with a low shot.

The visitors extended their advantage 13 minutes later in stunning fashion as Guedioura met Deeney’s lay-off with a blistering strike that flew from his right foot into the top-right corner.

Welbeck reduced the arrears late on, finishing neatly after a one-two with Mesut Ozil, but then squandered a golden chance to equalise by shooting wide of an open goal from Kieran Gibbs’s pass.

Reeling from last Thursday’s 2-0 loss at Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie, United welcomed West Ham to Old Trafford needing victory to rekindle their season.

But Slaven Bilic’s visitors made the better first-half chances, with Emmanuel Emenike shooting wide from Andy Carroll’s lobbed pass and heading straight at David de Gea from Aaron Cresswell’s cross.

West Ham took the lead in the 68th minute when French playmaker Payet confirmed his status as one of the players of the season by arcing a picture-perfect 30-yard free-kick over the wall and in off the left-hand post.

But with nails being chewed to the quick by the home fans, Martial kept United in the competition by charging in to convert Ander Herrera’s right-wing cross with a close-range volley.

Michail Antonio almost restored West Ham’s lead in stoppage time, but De Gea turned his low strike around the post to send the tie to a replay.

“We have played a game against Liverpool on Thursday and they (West Ham) had the whole week to prepare and (yet) we could come back and show a big revival,” said Van Gaal.

“I have to give a lot of compliments to my team. They were mentally tired after Liverpool and also in the body.”

A bullish Bilic told the BBC: “Manchester United are a different team when they play away and don’t have that confidence.

“It (the replay) is going to be a tough game, but I fancy us because we’re going to be even more confident.”

Messi Messes Arsenal Up, As Bayern Lose Advantage In Italy

Lionel Messi was again the decider at the Emirates Stadium, scoring a brace to help Barcelona to a 2-0 advantage heading into the second leg at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine and his teammates had to dig deep for the victory having come up against a spirited Arsenal side who held for a goalless first half.

It took 71 minutes for Barcelona to open the scoring after the attacking trio of Suarez, Neymar and Messi all combined for the Ballon d’or holder to score a first of his eventual double.

After 84 minutes, the tie looked lost as substitute Mathieu Flamini conceded a penalty and Messi again stepped up to convert to silence the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners now have to go out fighting at the Camp Nou in the second leg, in a move that may leave them exposed to further disgrace.

In the day’s other game, Bayern Munich surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2, after Dybala and Sturaro cancelled out two goals from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben.

The Bavarians will however go into the second leg with the cushion of two away goals behind them, as a goalless draw, or a 1-1 draw in the second leg will now see them go through.

Arsenal To Host Leicester In Game Of The Weekend

First will travel to third in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, as Leicester City bid to continue their daring title chase with a visit to title contenders, Arsenal.

The Gunners are one of the two sides to have beaten Leicester in the league this season and another victory at the Emirates would see Arsene Wenger’s side close the gap on the leaders to just two points.

Arsenal boss Wenger revealed at his pre-match press conference that he has no fresh injury concerns from the win over Bournemouth last time out.

Danny Welbeck is close to being available after returning to action for the Under-21 team, but will not be ready for a game of this magnitude, while Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are still weeks away from being fit.

Gabriel Paulista is expected to keep his spot in the team ahead of Per Mertesacker, while Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin could start ahead of Mathieu Flamini and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

As for Leicester, January signing Daniel Amartey is in line for his first start after completing 90 minutes for the development squad earlier this week, but Matty James and Jeffrey Schlupp are still out of action.

Ranieri could stick with the same XI that beat Man City last weekend, meaning that Shinji Okazaki will partner Vardy in the final third of the field.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Coquelin; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahres, Drinkwater, Kante, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy

Chukwueze To Join Arsenal Soon

Golden Eaglets sensation, Samuel Chukwueze is set to soon join fellow Nigeria U17 star Kelechi Nwakali at EPL club Arsenal as he is now processing his entry visa to England.

The dashing forward is believed to have attended a visa interview in Abuja this week in this respect.

Arsenal have agreed to sign Chukwueze and Nwakali from Diamond Academy of Umuahia.

But with Nwakali having arrived London, Chukwueze is only sorting out his travel papers after a plan to have him join Red Bull Salzburg of Austria crashed.

Chukwueze was the third highest scorer at last year’s FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile, which Nigeria won.

Wenger Admits To Stuttering Form

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not believe his side’s Premier League title chances are over despite a “stuttering” run of results.

Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton on Tuesday, leaving the club four league games without a win and five points adrift of leaders Leicester City.

The Gunners are next in action at Bournemouth on Sunday before they host Leicester on Feb. 14, and Wenger is refusing to give up on his side’s opportunity at glory.

“We’ll see at the end of the season. It’s too early to say that,” he said when asked if he was worried about Arsenal’s dip in form.