What can Arsenal fans expect from Mana Iwabuchi?

Aston Villa's Mana Iwabuchi (left) and Chelsea's Melanie Leupolz in action during the FA Women's Sup

Aston Villa's Mana Iwabuchi (left) and Chelsea's Melanie Leupolz in action during the FA Women's Super League match at Kingsmeadow, London. Picture date: Sunday March 28, 2021. - Credit: PA

Arsenal completed the signing of Mana Iwabuchi earlier this week as she left Aston Villa.

Iwabuchi was a long term target for the Gunners, so what can Arsenal fans expect from the 28-year-old.

Vision:

Iwabuchi has very good vision completing 71 per cent of her progressive passes while she was at Aston Villa last season. With better quality players around her at Arsenal, this side of her game will flourish. 

The Japanese international plays through defences very easily and with a lot of skill due to her vision, her football brain is one of the best in not only Europe but indeed the world. 


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She also has 71 touches on average per game showing that she is heavily involved in the build up play and, due to the way that Arsenal play, she will have more of them. 

Iwabuchi is a perfect player for Arsenal in how she plays football and her style with her vision being key. 

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Arsenal fans can expect the former Bayern Munich star to be vital in the build up play and her switches of play out to the wings will be vital in how the Gunners break down teams next season. 

Leadership:

At 28, Iwabuchi is very experienced and has won a lot of trophies including the FIFA Women's World Cup. 

Arsenal have a young squad overall but Iwabuchi with join the likes of Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie as the leaders in the dressing room. 

Iwabuchi has played in the biggest matches against the best opponents so she has plenty of not only quality but leadership.

She will bring a lot of confidence and leadership to the squad. 

Goals:

Iwabuchi scored just twice for Aston Villa in her 13 WSL games but with a full season at Arsenal she will offer goals. 

The attacking midfielder scored a stunning strike from range against Tottenham in the WSL, that was voted Villa's goal of the season. When the 28-year-old scores it's usually something special. 

She was part of the Japanese side which stunned the USA in the final of the 2011 World Cup, and which finished as runners-up in 2015.

Iwabuchi also has a silver Olympic medal to her name, earned at London 2012.

She isn't a stranger:

Iwabuchi played with Vivianne Miedema, Lisa Evans, Manuela Zinsberger and Viktoria Schnaderbeck at Bayern Munich so she isn't a stranger. 

Iwabuchi will know the strengths of those players and has a good friendship with them.

Arsenal fans can expect to see her develop a good partnership and understanding with Miedema. 

Hard work: 

The hard-working Iwabuchi covers a lot of ground. She completed 66 per cent of her ball carries forward in 2020-21 for Villa, showing she is very direct. 

Arsenal are patient in their build up play - a style that the new signing can play - but, depending on the new manager, she could play in a high energy system.

Iwabuchi will give everything to the cause and will be a real fans' favourite in north London. 

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