Alex Iwobi had a day to forget against West Ham and his woeful stats tell the story of his afternoon as he returned to Everton’s starting line-up.
Everton were beaten 1-0 with the Liverpool Echo giving Iwobi a generous 5/10 rating, claiming he “got in some good positions but frustrated again”.
In fact the former Arsenal man, who was returning to the side after missing the draw with Manchester United last time out, was pretty ineffective. It was a thoroughly forgettable performance from Iwobi, who took an air shot from a Demarai Grai’s cross with the goal at his mercy.
It did not get much better for Iwobi, who was predictably hooked by Rafa Benitez with 11 minutes remaining.
Benitez masked the poor display of his team afterwards. But he will no doubt be worried by Iwobi’s poor start to the season.
“We played against a good team, they are big and strong and have some quality and pace in the team,” said the Spaniard.
“We were fine in the counterattack but we were missing the final pass. The second half we started to do better pushing. We were expecting a corner or free kick could be used against this team.”
Iwobi’s poor afternoon at Goodison can be detailed with a look at his stats.
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison missing, he failed to make a key pass or record a shot on target.
He did have four other shots that were all off target. His 16 passes had an accuracy of 68.8 percent.
He also failed to complete a dribble and had just 29, which was 14 fewer than goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Iwobi also failed to win any of his three duels and couldn’t pick out a team-mate with two attempted crosses.
The 25-year-old, who is under contract until 2024, has admitted he has been told by Benitez where to improve.
Iwobi asked to step up
In an interview with BBC Sport Africa last month, he said: “I can see the improvement under the new manager because he’s vastly experienced and has worked with different players at major clubs,” he said.
“He came in and told me the part of my game that needs improvement. And so far I can see the progress and impact. When you work under someone who’s managed top players in his career, you have to listen because the gaffer has already seen things you are only just learning.”
Iwobi also admitted he has had to step under Benitez.
“This is a different level with the new manager. Personally you have to be honest with yourself. And you have to admit what part of your game must change to adapt,” he added
“I know the importance of having a consistent run at club level. So I have had to step up my game to compete here.”