Everton will be aiming to end a run of three consecutive defeats when they host Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The Toffees’ fast start to the season has come to an abrupt halt in recent weeks, with injuries to several key players threatening to derail their campaign.
With Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Yerry Mina all experiencing lengthy spells on the sidelines in recent weeks, Rafael Benitez has struggled to find the solutions to their enforced absences.
While youngster Anthony Gordon and the returning Fabian Delph have offered glimpses of hope, there are many more fringe players who have failed to step up to the mark.
One of those who has been unable to assert himself at Everton during the opening 10 Premier League games of 2021/22 is Alex Iwobi.
The £19.8m-rated flop scored his first league goal of the season against Wolves last time out, but that strike wasn’t enough to mask another hugely underwhelming display.
Goodison News reporter Nick Ware was also unconvinced by Iwobi’s performance at Molineux and was critical of the 25-year-old when dishing out his player ratings.
“Took his goal well, which raises his rating slightly. But can Benitez justify starting him ahead of Anthony Gordon? The fact that the Nigeria international was still substituted 10 minutes after his goal sums up how effective he really was during the game,” Ware wrote after awarding him a six out of 10.
Iwobi’s underlying numbers also illustrate his below-par showing against the Midlands outfit. As per SofaScore, he completed just 19 passes throughout his 78 minutes on the pitch, had only 32 touches of the ball and lost 50% of his duels.
The Wolves game wasn’t an isolated poor performance, either. As per WhoScored, he is a lowly 15th in the hierarchy of average ratings for the season so far in Benitez’s squad, with just five other players to have started a league match for Everton in 2021/22 ranking lower.
It’s been a frustrating few years for the former Arsenal academy graduate since arriving at Everton in August 2019, with the Liverpool Echo’s Sports Editor David Prentice highlighting his “embarrassing” contributions during a defeat to Southampton last season.
With no sign of Iwobi’s form dramatically changing any time soon, Benitez must axe him over the weekend, duly giving his team the best chance of getting a positive result against Antonio Conte’s Spurs.