Alex Iwobi believes working under Carlo Ancelotti has helped improve his game since leaving Arsenal, especially in the final third of the pitch, but the stats don’t seem to agree at all.

Leeds United's Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski (L) vies with Everton's Nigerian midfielder Alex Iwobi (R) during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Everton at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP)
Alex Iowbi battles with Leeds United’s Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski (L)  during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Everton at Elland Road on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / AFP)

“Growing up in the Arsenal system, I played numerous positions. So for me to play right wing-back, I wasn’t really lost as people would’ve thought I would be,” Iwobi said to BBC Sports.

“It wasn’t really difficult for me to adjust. With the manager Carlo Ancelotti, I’ve improved a bit more with my final third, end product.

“If I do beat a man, then I’m able to create a chance for my team-mates. That’ s what he wants me to do a bit more.”

Alex Iwobi interview with BBC via This Day, 20 February 2021
Alex Iwobi interview with BBC via This Day, 20 February 2021

At Arsenal, Iwobi scored 15 goals, with 27 assists in 146 games/8,841 minutes.

With Everton, since his £27.36m move in 2019, Iwobi has scored four and assisted four in 54 games. Two of those goals and three of his assists have come this season.

To compare, that’s a goal involvement rate of one every 210.5 minutes at Arsenal and 424.13 at Everton, making him half as effective.

That being said, goals and assists are only part of the metrics Iwobi is no doubt using to make his claim, so I thought I’d look at those, too.

Alex Iwobi Arsenal vs Everton stats

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Alex Iwobi of Everton looks on from the bench during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Watford FC at Goodison Park on August 17, 2019, in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 17: Alex Iwobi of Everton looks on from the bench during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Watford FC at Goodison Park on August 17, 2019, in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

I’ve averaged Iwobi’s stats from his last two Arsenal seasons for comparison.

Alex Iwobi – Shots on target %

  • Arsenal 44.45%
  • Everton 34.55%

Alex Iwobi – Shots per 90 mins

  • Arsenal 1.905
  • Everton 1.055

Alex Iwobi – Passes attempted

  • Arsenal 1,092
  • Everton 564

Alex Iwobi – Pass completion %

  • Arsenal 80.4%
  • Everton 75.3%

Alex Iwobi – Completed passes in the penalty box

  • Arsenal 46.5
  • Everton 27.5

Alex Iwobi – Progressive passes

  • Arsenal 115.5
  • Everton 70

Alex Iwobi – Shot creating actions (per 90)

  • Arsenal 72 (3.8)
  • Everton 35 (2.62)

Alex Iwobi – Goal creating actions (per 90)

  • Arsenal 12 (0.57)
  • Everton 3 (0.2)

Alex Iwobi – Tackles

  • Arsenal 21.5
  • Everton 25.5

Alex Iwobi – Tackles, final third

  • Arsenal 3
  • Everton 1

Alex Iwobi – Blocks

  • Arsenal 25.5
  • Everton 18.5

Alex Iwobi – Pressures

  • Arsenal 335.5
  • Everton 256

From those stats you can see the only metri improved is ‘overall tackles’ but when you focus on the final third, where Iwobi says he has improved, even that stat doesn’t hold up/

I honestly didn’t write this expecting to prove Iwobi hadn’t improved at Everton. I didn’t know the stats when I started and hoped to see the Arsenal lad flourishing and developing into the player we all hoped he’d be.

Alex Iwobi revealed the frantic last-minute nature of his transfer to Everton, as he was away in Dubai as it all went down.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 23: Alex Iwobi of Everton during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton FC at Villa Park on August 23, 2019, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 23: Alex Iwobi of Everton during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton FC at Villa Park on August 23, 2019, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Iwobi completed a deadline-day move to Everton in the summer of 2019, in a much busier 24-hour period than expected for Arsenal. As well as selling the winger, they also signed David Luiz from Chelsea and Kieran Tierney from Celtic, despite prior suggestions they’d try to do all of their business early on.

In the end, Iwobi’s move was such a last-minute thing that he was away on a family holiday at the time, and couldn’t even undergo a proper medical before the transfer.

“Everything was last minute but I don’t regret the decision. I am happy to be here,” Iwobi said. “Honestly, do you know where I was? I was in Dubai on a family holiday and I’d been there for four or five days before deadline day.

“I got the call saying Everton were interested. It was literally mad for the last two or three days. I wasn’t able to (hold a medical). They were able to get the medicals off Arsenal and Arsenal were able to hand them in. It was literally a crazy holiday.

“I was on a boat and had to rush back to the sign everything on time, it was crazy. There was one part of me thinking: ‘This might not go through’.”

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