Iwobi ready to smash walls to win English Premier League
Alex Iwobi is sure boss Arsene Wenger signing a new two-year deal does not mean more of the same old Arsenal next season.The Gunners winger, 21, has vowed he and his team-mates will ‘run through brick walls’ for the Frenchman — and that ‘winning the Premier League title is the clear target’.
Iwobi claims the team will be hurting all summer after failing to qualify for the Champions League and there is a steely determination to put right last season’s wrongs.
The stunning FA Cup final triumph against Chelsea and a strong finish to the Premier League season masked what was an otherwise poor campaign.It led to “Wenger Out” protests from some fans that the Arsenal manager branded a “disgrace” that he “will never forget”.
But Iwobi said: “I’m backing Arsene Wenger to win the league title at Arsenal again. There won’t be a single player in our dressing room next season who will not fight for him.
“We’d run through brick walls for the boss. I’m pleased because he really is Mr. Arsenal, isn’t he? He has made it the great institution it is today.“He showed faith in me and gave me the opportunity to step into the first team after coming through the academy. Unfortunately, he has not tasted a Premier League title since 2004, but look what he has achieved in his time here.
“Even last weekend, he became the manager who has won the FA Cup seven times — more than any other. I’m happy he’s staying — so are the rest of the lads — because it’s good for the club, good for the team.”
Iwobi revealed how Wenger’s famed man-management skills have helped him develop.The Nigerian ace said: “I remember when I made my debut against Sheffield Wednesday and he put me at ease right away. Mr. Wenger told me to express myself, be myself, do the basics well and my ability will shine through.
“He also said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid of anyone in football or show fear’. You can’t help but feel inspired. He just gives you belief that you can play against the world’s best.”
Iwobi did not have much game time in the latter weeks of the season with some suggesting that Wenger had been overplaying the rookie.Iwobi added: “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed not to be playing as much but as long as the team is going well then I can understand.
“But I want to get myself back in the team. That is the aim of any young player. I need to work hard in training, work hard in pre-season and hopefully I’ll start next season with a bang.”
As much as protests from fans upset Wenger, Iwobi is realistic enough to know that finishing fifth and not winning the title for 13 years is going to draw criticism.
Iwobi said: “We have fans that demand the best, which is fair enough. Every team should give the fans what they want. A club like Arsenal should be doing much better than finishing fifth. But I’d like to thank the Arsenal fans because they have supported us mainly through the tough times and good times. Winning the Premier League is our clear target.
“You must go into every competition with that mindset because this is Arsenal and the fans demand it, the manager demands it and as players we need to demand it too.
“We’ve got the Europa League next season. OK, it’s not the Champions League but it’s still European football and another chance to lift a trophy.”
Overcoming Premier League champions Chelsea at Wembley — and five straight league wins at the end of the campaign — at least filled Arsenal fans with some optimism. And Iwobi admitted: “That Cup final showed the mentality of this group of players and the resilience of this team. We were all celebrating at Wembley, all looking at what we had accomplished.
“Reverting to three at the back was a turning point because it allowed more of the guys to play and operate where they like. It gave us so much more.“I am not sure we can say that is the system the manager will go for next season because that will depend on who stays, who goes and who comes in.
“But what the end of last season does show is that no matter what happens on the pitch you have to keep the spirit going because all teams go through rough patches.
“The fact we finished the season so strong and won the FA Cup shows the strength of character we have in the team. We must kick on into next season now.”
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