Football

Should Iwobi feel hard done by after Everton ‘humiliation’?

The midfielder had his shirt thrown back at him in the aftermath of the Toffees’ 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth on Saturday

You are unlikely to feign indifference after the incident that took place after Everton were beaten by Bournemouth for the second time last week.

The Toffees suffered a 3-0 defeat at the Vitality Stadium, days after they were thrashed 4-1 by Gary O’Neil’s crew at the same venue. An exit in the EFL Cup could be excused if the Merseyside outfit showed up at the weekend, showing Tuesday’s result was anomalous, rather than characteristic.

The post-match events were marred by Alex Iwobi’s “misunderstanding” with some of the travelling support after the defeat, with the Nigeria international giving his strip to someone in the crowd only to have it returned without hesitation.

This undoubtedly sparked conversation on social media, with the majority of observers criticising the Everton group at the Vitality. Others questioned the logic behind the Nigerian’s gesture after such a punishing defeat.

Iwobi has said nothing about the incident at the time of writing, but should he feel aggrieved following events in Dorset?

The case for Iwobi

Going over to the away fans’ section regardless of the result is incessantly encouraged in English football. Indeed, it is largely a cardinal sin whenever players ignore supporters who have endured extended and uncomfortable coach or train trips just to see their team play.

This peccadillo is never ignored and fans take umbrage at players heading into the dressing room at the sound of the final whistle.

Iwobi seemingly paid his respects to the team’s followers after the underwhelming game in which his loose marking probably contributed to one of Bournemouth’s goals in the 3-0 loss.

Rather than mope after the reverse, the club’s best performer this season did the bare minimum of appreciating the support but this was ultimately thrown back in his face.

While the Nigerian’s performance could be censured in isolation, he has been the club’s most consistent player since the start of the season. The Super Eagle even fashioned the club’s best opportunity of a consolation goal at the Vitality, setting up young right-back Nathan Patterson with 20 minutes of normal time to play.

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An Everton goal probably would have been too little too late to salvage anything from the game, although the Cherries’ recent tendency to lose leads in the Premier League may have sown seeds of doubt in the minds of home supporters.

Indeed, Iwobi deserved better than the incident Frank Lampard described as a “misunderstanding” in his post-match media duties.

Why supporters were right to vent their spleen

What transpired was probably in the heat of the moment and you can understand why the Everton fans were incandescent with rage.

Many of them must have taken five-to-seven-hour trips to arrive at the ground and had to watch what was a pitiable showing against a side that had lost four Premier League games on the trot and had conceded a league goal in six consecutive games.

Lampard’s troops could not muster more than three shots on target with Iwobi’s tame effort from outside the box before half-time making up one of such attempts.

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Fans had witnessed an embarrassing exit in the EFL Cup and the weekend’s loss against the same opponents meant they conceded seven times to the Cherries in the space of five days.

The Toffees had not let in more than two goals in one game all season, but that was undone at the Vitality by a Bournemouth side that sat just outside the bottom three before the last round of games.

Everton’s form has fallen off a cliff, evidenced by a run of one victory in eight in all competitions, with six defeats since early October seeing the Merseyside outfit sit just outside the relegation zone in 17th. They have now failed to score in four away games in succession since that 2-1 win over Southampton at the start of last month.

Indeed, it is going to be another long campaign battling relegation if results do not improve after the World Cup interlude.

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Iwobi could feel hard done by at the fans’ reaction but it was to be expected with emotions running high and Everton supporters reeling after heavy defeats to the newly-promoted side in a matter of days.

Perhaps, the Nigerian’s move to hand his jersey to someone in the crowd was ill-advised, all things considered, but it should also not take anything away from a player having one of his finest Premier League campaigns to date.

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