Alex Iwobi Explains His Reason for Deadline Day Move From Arsenal to Everton

Alex Iwobi has revealed his decision to join Everton from Arsenal this summer was due to him feeling overly comfortable with the Gunners.

Having come up through the ranks at Arsenal, his boyhood club, it was a surprise to many that the Nigeria international decided to leave the Emirates in a stunning £28m (rising to £34m) deal on deadline day.

With the big-money arrival of Nicolas Pepe and up-and-coming youngsters such as Reiss Nelson battling for wide positions, Iwobi’s place was under threat and the Gunners decided to cash in on the offer from Everton despite the 23-year-old’s obvious talent.

Alex Iwobi

Despite the move being a step down the Premier League table from ​Arsenal, Iwobi has no qualms about his decision, explaining his reasoning for the move to Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.

He said, as quoted by the Metro: “I was very comfortable [at Arsenal] and I was on holiday so I didn’t think about any move. 

“I got the call and thought about if this would be a better chance for me to improve myself as a player. I thought that this was a big opportunity and I shouldn’t turn it down. I’ve got no regrets about the decision.

Alex Iwobi,Lucas Digne,Richarlison,Moise Kean

“The ambition that Marco Silva has also persuaded me to come – the drive, what he wants to achieve and the way he saw me in his plans, I feel like I’m able to help him do that. Even in training, he’s always demanding, always trying to get the best out of us and it’s good for the team.”

Iwobi has started in fine form for ​Everton, having scored in two out of the three games in all competitions, while he has already started linking up well with fellow summer signing Moise Kean and star man Richarlison.

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The Premier League Ground That Provides the Most Excitement Revealed

Watford may have had a rather miserable start to the 2019/20 season, but Vicarage Road has been dubbed the ‘most exciting Premier League stadium’. It is the top flight venue that most often sees both teams score, as well as doing consistently well across the board.

The Crown Ground, otherwise known as the Wham Stadium, and home to League One club Accrington Stanley, is the most exciting across all of England’s top four divisions, while Luton’s Kenilworth Road, Peterborough’s London Road, MK Dons’ Stadium MK and Swindon’s County Ground all do well in terms of providing the most overall excitement.

There is much more drama in the cutthroat and rollercoaster world of the EFL.

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Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge comes out as the second most exciting Premier League stadium, 25th overall, with St James’ Park the third most exciting in the top flight. Old Trafford is the seventh most exciting in the Premier League, with the Emirates Stadium ninth and Anfield 12th.

The least exciting stadium across all of the top four leagues is St Andrew’s, home to Birmingham and also currently shared by the otherwise home-less Coventry City this season.

With research conducted by bwin, a range of factors have gone into determining this, including how many goals are scored, as well as red cards, 0-0s, hat-tricks, penalties, 90th minute goals. Even things like relegations, promotions and titles wins have been taken into account.

Craig Cathcart,Troy Deeney

The findings have revealed that Vicarage Road in particular is the Premier League venue where both teams are most likely to score at least one goal. That is because it happens 56% of matches, with goals at both ends offering more ‘excitement’ than one-sided games.

Old Trafford is the Premier League stadium with the lowest chance of both teams scoring, as it only happens 44% of the time, but title wins – both for Manchester United themselves, as well as famously Arsenal in 2002 – also boost the excitement factor.

Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium is the place that offers the highest scoring encounters, with 5+ goals per game happening there on average four times per season. A penalty is also awarded at the Etihad every 243 minutes. But penalties at St Mary’s only happen every 447 minutes.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Bramall Lane, home to Sheffield United, will typically see a red card on average once every 409 minutes, the most frequent of any of the current Premier League stadiums.

One major thing in favour of Vicarage Road is that it has seen 15 cup upsets (FA Cup or EFL Cup), where a team from a lower division has knocked out a team from a higher one. That is not necessarily good for Watford as it can go both ways, but it does make for an exciting venue.

Premier League Stadiums Ranked by ‘Most Exciting’

PL Rank Stadium​ Overall Rank
​1st ​Vicarage Road (Watford) ​8th
​2nd ​Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) ​25th
​3rd ​St James’ Park (Newcastle) 29th​
​4th Carrow Road (Norwich)​ 36th​
​5th Eithad Stadium (Man City)​ 37th​
​6th Bramall Lane (Sheffield Utd)​ 38th​
​7th Old Trafford (Man Utd)​ 43rd​
​8th Turf Moor (Burnley)​ 50th​
​9th Emirates Stadium (Arsenal)​ 51st​
​10th Selhurst Park (Crystal Palace)​ 53rd​
​11th King Power Stadium (Leicester)​ 54th​
​12th Anfield (Liverpool)​ 55th​
​13th Vitality Stadium (Bournemouth)​ 61st​
​14th *Tottenham Hotspur/White Hart Lane (Tottenham)​ 64th​
​15th Molineux (Wolves)​ 69th​
​16th Goodison Park (Everton)​ 74th​
​17th London Stadium (West Ham)​ 75th​
​18th Villa Park (Aston Villa)​ 83rd​
​19th St Mary’s (Southampton)​ 84th​
​20th Amex Stadium (Brighton)​ 86th​

*White Hart Lane included alongside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for more rounded picture given that the newer venue only opened as recently as April.

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Arsenal: The XI That Should Start Against Watford

It’s been an indifferent, yet quietly encouraging, start to the season for Arsenal, who fought back from the dead against Tottenham to make it a respectable seven points from a possible 12 to start the season before the international break.

With a well-earned rest under (some of) the player’s belts, however, it’s almost time to get back to action, and they make the short trip to Watford on Sunday looking to take advantage of the tumultuous state of play at Vicarage Road and record win number three of the season. 

How they will line up to do just that is a mystery as Unai Emery continues to chop and change his formation and personnel, but the following is 90min‘s best guess. 


Goalkeeper and Defenders

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Bernd Leno (GK) – Little doubt about this one since Petr Cech hung up the gloves. Leno has been a mainstay and caught the eye with one or two special saves against ​Spurs. 

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (RB) – This one comes a week or two early for Hector Bellerin who continues his recovery from injury, but in his absence, Maitland-Niles has proved himself to be a capable alternative – and may just have laid down the gauntlet to make the spot his own long-term. 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (CB) – The glue that holds the Gunners defence together at present, he’s played every minute of the season so far and the lack of alternative senior options means it would take something drastic for him not to make the XI. 

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David Luiz (CB) – He’s like marmite and his limitations are about as discreet as a Christmas tree in September, but Luiz looks to be the first choice partner for Sokratis – at least until William Saliba finally arrives next summer. 

Sead Kolasinac (LB) – Has the spot for the time being but that may be a different story once Kieran Tierney gets himself fit.


Midfielders

Moussa Sissoko,Dani Ceballos

Matteo Guendouzi (CM) – The 20-year-old has carved out an immutable starting spot for himself in the side and very nearly produced a match-winning display against Spurs. Earned his first France call-up during the break and though he’ll have to wait on his senior debut, he’ll be keen to keep the momentum ticking at club level.

Granit Xhaka (CM) – Seems a key part of Emery’s plans despite not being the best of his midfield options. Rarely misses a game when fit although you do suspect few ​Gunners fans would be upset to see Lucas Torreira starting instead. 

Dani Ceballos (CM) – Yet to properly establish himself as a starter, but his presence in midfield facilitates the transition between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 without the need for a substitution. Joe Willock is the alternative for that role and could start but the Spaniard looks more likely given his superior class. 


Forwards

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Nicolas Pepe (RW) – Yet to get off the mark but that’s not for the want of trying. If he does make the XI you sense it’s just a matter of time before he starts hammering them in. 

​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – Last season’s golden boot winner has three goals in four games and has played every minute so far this season. With Alexandre Lacazette out injured, he will be the man to lead the line. 

Reiss Nelson (LW) – Lacazette’s absence opens up a berth alongside Aubameyang and Pepe in the attacking triangle and if Emery does keep with the 4-3-3, then it’s likely Nelson will be given another chance to shine. 


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Alexandre Lacazette Set for Period on Sidelines After Picking Up Ankle Injury

​Arsenal have confirmed that striker Alexandre Lacazette is set for a few weeks on the sidelines as he recovers from an ankle injury.

The Frenchman was initially a doubt for the Gunners’ upcoming meeting with Watford after limping off during the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur before the international break with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Erik Lamela,Alexandre Lacazette

However, ​Arsenal have taken to their ​official website to confirm that ​Lacazette will actually miss the game against ​Watford because of an underlying injury to his ankle, which could keep him sidelined until October.

The club wrote: “After assessments to an ongoing ankle issue, we have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness. Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks. He is likely to be back in action in October.”

After the meeting with Watford, Arsenal will kick off their Europa League campaign with a trip to Eintracht Frankfurt, but they will have to do so without Lacazette. The Frenchman is also expected to miss meetings with ​Aston Villa and ​Manchester United.

However, ​Rob Holding, Dinos Mavropanos, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney have all returned to full training with the senior side, so Unai Emery will be hopeful of welcoming the group back to his matchday squad in the near future.

Losing Lacazette will be a huge blow to Arsenal. He has formed a dynamic attacking trio with ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe this season, but he will now need to be replaced for the next few weeks.

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Aubameyang will likely feature as the central striker, meaning there could be opportunities for the likes of Reiss Nelson, Mesut Ozil or Gabriel Martinelli on the left side or Arsenal’s attack.

The Gunners have picked up seven points from their opening four games, and they will hope that the return of so many key players will help get them back to winning ways in Lacazette’s absence.

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Dani Ceballos Reveals Why He Was Stunned at Anfield During Arsenal’s 3-1 Liverpool Loss

Dani Ceballos has revealed he was stunned by how good Liverpool were during Arsenal’s 3-1 loss to the Champions League holders in late August.

The Gunners have been tipped by many to finally break back into the Premier League’s top four this season after a few years away from Europe’s elite club competition, but were given a quick reminder of the gap in quality between the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City and those scrapping for European qualification during a chastening loss on Merseyside.

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While Arsenal did claw one back through Lucas Torreira in the 85th minute, Ceballos admitted the team he faced last month is one of the best he has ever seen.

I had never seen anything like it,” he told ​the Daily Mail“I’ve not seen up until now a team that plays better, that presses better. That game had quite an impact on me.

“They suck the air out of you. You spend so much time defending and when you want to catch your breath and get on the ball for a bit, they’ve taken it from you again.

“I think Jurgen [Klopp] now has the team he first had in mind when he started four years ago.”

However, the ​Real Madrid loanee was also quick to argue Gunners manager Unai Emery could achieve what Jurgen Klopp has at Anfield at the Emirates, pointing to his debut season in north London last term as evidence.

He added: “The difference is that when Unai comes into Arsenal they had been on a less positive run for three or four years.

“In his first season ​Arsenal finish just a point short of the ​Champions League and are just a small step from winning the Europa League.

Dani Ceballos

“His arrival has been really positive for the club and will be positive in the long term. In a few years Arsenal can be one of the top ten sides in the world able to compete for everything.”

Arsenal are next in action on Sunday, when they face ​Watford at Vicarage Road.

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