We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Arsenal from the day.
Iwobi wants to play in Ozil’s position
Alex Iwobi may be the new kid on the block for Arsenal, but the Nigerian international is already eyeing a position occupied by one of the team’s biggest superstars – Mesut Ozil. Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez interchanged roles in a fluid system as Mesut Ozil was rested against Crystal Palace earlier this week and the youngster put in an impressive performance, earning plaudits from players and pundits alike.
And, according to Iwobi, he feels that is his best position and that is where he sees himself playing in the future. At only 20 years of age, Iwobi has a lot to learn about the No. 10 position but he is learning from one of the best players in the world in that role.
He feels he is pretty familiar with the role himself from his younger days but is still learning what he can.
“To be starting almost every week is just amazing progress for me. I’m still young, still learning and there is still a long way to go. Number 10 is where I have grown up playing and where I enjoy playing the most but wherever I am put on the pitch, I will do my best and whenever I get told to play any position I give 100 per-cent.
“There are a lot of players who can play number 10, and a lot of ball players in the team. Every day in training I am always learning and trying to add it to my game.”
Petr Cech says Giroud is always a threat
Giroud has been universally praised after his spectacular goal for Arsenal against Crystal Palace, which many have said will win the goal of the season and could even be the goal of the decade. The Frenchman has had a reduced role this season after the superb form of Alexis Sanchez at centre forward convinced Arsene Wenger to continue playing him there, but nonetheless has scored important goals for the Gunners.
Wenger has constantly praised Giroud’s mental strength when it comes to coming back from adversity and has said that he wants to extend the Frenchman’s contract – something Giroud has hinted he will be doing.
Now, Petr Cech says that he always thought Giroud was a handful and knows he is capable of scoring goals no matter what situation he is dealing with.
“I always keep saying that he’s one of those players who you love to have in the team, because he’s a handful and he can score important goals,” he said, according to the club’s official website. As we know, he scores important goals, no matter if he starts or if he comes off the bench. He’s always a threat.”
Xhaka reveals targets for 2017
Granit Xhaka has quickly grown into an influential player for Arsenal, and put in a masterful performance as the Gunners defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 earlier this week. Despite a slow start to life at the Emirates, Xhaka looks to have settled down completely and has made the midfield position his own in the absence of Santi Cazorla.
Xhaka had a memorable 2016, having captained Borussia Monchengladbach all the way to Champions League qualification and then taking part in the Euro 2016 tournament with Switzerland. The cherry on top would no doubt have been his big money move to Arsenal in the summer, and Xhaka is looking to have an even better 2017.
“I hope to stay fit and healthy of course, that’s most important, and that we’re successful on the pitch,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “We have a lot of aspiration at the club, including the players, and we work hard every day to realise those aspirations. We hope that we’ll have success to show for those efforts come the end of the year.”
“Every club has objectives. We want to achieve those objectives, so we want to show that we have managed to achieve what we set out to do in the summer.It’s always tough to say about something on a personal level.
It’s important that I’m able to achieve something with this team, because it’s a team sport after all and that’s most important. My own personal objectives fall in line with that.”
Coquelin tips Iwobi as player to improve the most in 2017
Alex Iwobi’s impressive rise to first-team prominence has been well-documented. The Nigerian international has been on Arsenal’s books for more than a decade and is now firmly a part of Arsene Wenger’s first team. Injuries to key players gave Iwobi his chance last season and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Iwobi has made a mark on a lot of his teammates, with the likes of Mesut Ozil openly admitting that they have been impressed with the 20-year old midfielder.
Francis Coquelin would have had a first-hand look at Iwobi early on, having played for the Arsenal youth team himself. And the Frenchman believes 2017 can be Iwobi’s year.
“Alex had his breakthrough season but this year he can confirm it even more,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “I really like the way he plays. He’s got technique and quick passing. The only thing he needs to add now is goals and he will be a complete player, but he’s a player I really like. 2017 can be his year.”