After two goals in the space of a week won Alex Iwobi a lot of favour with fans of Arsenal and Nigeria, we’re looking at whether goals are necessary for the 21-year-old to be an important part of the Gunners’ first-team.

Before I get started, I think I need to point out that obviously an Iwobi scoring goals is better than one that isn’t. Just as Nacho Monreal is better when he’s scoring, or Jack Wilshere. When players do the job they’re in the team to do, and then score goals as well, that’s the ideal situation.

Arsène Wenger seemed to agree with this sentiment in a recent interview. He told his Brighton post-match press conference (via ESPN): “A player like him must score 10 goals, and he must as well give between six and 10 assists, and that’s what I want from him.

“He is the kind of player who has good availability, helps you a lot to get out of pressure and creates spaces. But what you want from him is final balls and goals as well.”

Adding goals would be a welcome addition to Alex’s game, so if Wenger can push him to convert more chances, that’s clearly a good thing. However, I wouldn’t drop Nacho or Jack if they didn’t score, and although Iwobi plays a forward role, I think he always has a part to play, scoring or not.

Iwobi contributes a lot more to the team than just goals and assists, and I think that’s something often overlooked by fans. After the goal against Brighton, and then the goal that qualified Nigeria for the World Cup against Zambia, Iwobi drew praise from fans on social media, with the added qualification that he has to keep scoring now.

But I’m not sure he does ‘have to’. Personally I’d play him either way. Last season, when Arsenal were at their best, before the Everton and Manchester City matches, Iwobi had only scored one goal in 10 matches, and yet the team were unbeaten in all 10.

Against Chelsea, in the third match of that run, Iwobi didn’t score or assist, but won man-of-the-match as the Gunners ran out 3-0 winners. Whilst he wasn’t the one scoring or providing the goals, he was facilitating the play. For Theo Walcott’s goal, Iwobi found space behind the midfield and collected the ball from Özil. He played a one-two with the German, then executed a through-ball behind the defence for Hector Bellerín, who provided the assist.

No goal, no assist, but there’s no doubt the goal couldn’t have happened without him.

Iwobi executes these kinds of moves every time I watch him. He finds the space and receives the ball, often in tight areas. Then his first touch, decision making and eye for a pass do the rest. Other players get the ball in positions where they can score or assist because of him. The team retains possession where they’d otherwise lose it because of him.

In addition, you shouldn’t overlook the fact that Alex is an academy product. That fact alone helps in multiple ways. It means he has a connection to Arsenal greater than anyone who made the move for a big transfer fee and high wages. It means he goes down as a homegrown player on the squad lists, and makes him a role model for Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and the rest. It gives the fans someone to be proud to call their own.

So yes, I want Iwobi to score more, and I’m glad he’s been showing he can with the goals against Bayern and Benfica in pre-season, then Brighton and Zambia in his limited competitive appearances. But a team of eleven goalscorers wouldn’t win many matches, you need more than that.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.