The name on the lips of many Arsenal fans is Joe Willock, that youngster that has caught eyes with his energetic displays from defence to attack. His movement, timely runs into the box and eye for goal have drawn comparison with former Gunner who is now an Old Lady, Aaron Ramsey.
Since the Welshman left, Arsenal have not been able to adequately replace him, not statistically but in terms of style of play and most importantly, goals. Since the exit of Ramsey, goals from midfield have really dried up with Arsenal relying only on goals from the strikers and attackers alone. This blip has really hampered the team last season and even so far this season.
The issue last season was that Arsenal did not score enough goals but the challenge this season is that the Gunners are not creating enough chances to even have an attempt at goal.
Joe Willock has shown that he shares similar style of play to Ramsey. He is energetic like the Welshman and a willing runner into the box like the former Cardiff prodigy. His energy level won him admirations from former manager, Unai Emery who believed he had what it took to fill the void left behind by Ramsey.
Under incumbent manager, Mikel Arteta, he has been a regular feature in the Europa League where he has contributed 4 goals (2 goals, 2 assists) in 3 appearances and in the EFL Cup, he has been a regular feature too, he scored the penalty that ousted Liverpool right there at Anfield but he is yet to make an appearance so far in the Premier League this season. After his recent heroics and man of the match performance against Molde on Day 3 of the Europa League, Arteta like a nightingale, sang his praises.
“Joe Willock could have scored more, he created a goal and a good performance, keep doing what he is doing consistently and his chance will arrive in the Premier League”.
Former Arsenal legend, Martin Keown towed the stance of the Arsenal manager as he also spoke glowingly about him.
“He wants to make the difference, he’s got great technique and drive and they need to make use of that for the first time. He’s finding the extra gears and he’s maturing nicely.”
It is too early to say the new Ramsey has come but the early signs are good. The good thing is that he can continue to hone his skills in the lesser competitions away from the bigger one. Willock is a central midfielder but more suited to the box to box role owing to his ability to time his run to perfection, he would be a perfect midfield partner for Thomas Partey or Mohammed El Neny.
The former Athletico Madrid man could be the defensive midfield marshal while Willock acts as the box to box lynchpin, ditto for El Neny too. For now, the partnership of Partey and El Neny looks too formidable to be tinkered with but if Arteta wants to try something new and interesting, Willock would be a good option, Arsenal need his energetic work rate in the middle of the park, his run into the opponent’s box and most importantly his goals from midfield.