Could this academy graduate get the nod to start in Arsenal’s opening PL fixture? (Opinion)

Mikel Arteta has reiterated on more than one occasion that Joe Willock will stay with the club this summer, and he could well be in contention to start our opening Premier League fixture with Brentford.

The Gunners are set to open their campaign next weekend away to the newly promoted side, but will do so without key midfielder Thomas Partey, leaving manager Arteta with a decision to make.

He isn’t shy of options at present, with Granit Xhaka no longer expected to leave the club, as well as Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mo Elneny, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Miguel Azeez all in contention, but you would be shocked if either of the latter two were to get the nod.

Willock however could be considered, especially given his extended run of action for Newcastle earlier in 2021, where he scored eight times, including in each of the last seven Premier League appearances, setting the record for youngest player to score in six consecutive matches, before earning the same record for seven matches also.

It was that form that convinced Arteta that he should stay with the club this season, and he insisted in an interview that ‘he’s going to be here’ for sure.

Arteta said on Willock(via Football.London): “Well for sure because he’s got a contract and he’s going to be here, so that’s for sure.

“He will be back with us, we will have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.”

Who do you expect to get the nod to start next weekend? Would you be shocked to see Willock start in the double-pivot?


Tags Joe Willock


  1. Like to see if Willock has truly taken the next step after his Newcastle loan.

    We DESPERATELY need scoring from midfield, and he’s very familiar with the club, homegrown, young and hungry, and costs nothing in transfer fees.

    With ESR performing at a good level, I’d rather keep Willock and get a B2B to replace Xhaka and partner with Partey.

    Question is, would Arteta rather coach up Willock or yet again reach for the checkbook.

    Even IF Auoar or another AM comes in, does anyone believe Arteta will stop his negative tactics?

    18 months and it looks likely these negative tactics are his philosophy and vision now and going forward.

    I would love to be wrong, but with 10 players he has hand-picked over his tenure, the only constant has been his negative approach to the game.

  2. “Well for sure because he’s got a contract and he’s going to be here, so that’s for sure.

    this means nothing, good choice of words really from MA

  3. My position NOW, after the unbelievably wrong decision to award XHAKA a new four year contract, is that I now wish MA GONE.

    DESPITE his many mistakes last season and an underwhelming window thus far, I DO recognise the sheer size of the task he has in having to still deal with the many deadwood, MOST(though not all), of which he inherited and has to use at times and cannot sell, either at all or else for mere peanuts.

    The managers job, under Kroenke, is at best a poison chalice, just as it was for Emery. And that is even if we choose to ignore the constant hounding of a decent man by many vitriolic so called fans on JA, which only makes his job more difficult still.

    SO I WILL NOT BE ACTIVELY CALLING FOR HIS HEAD, EVEN THOUGH , IN AN IDEAL WORLD – WHICH WE DO NOT HAVE – I would much prefer an estabished world class name as manager.

    I know, as a realist, that will not be happening any time soon. In the meantime, I will actively still support MA,while he remains manager, as that is what TRUE supporters do.

  4. ‘Congratulations once more to Arteta and Edu for once more listening to you Fan base and retaining Joe Willock and Smith Rowe in the Arsenal FC their favourite team. You will not regret it, starting from the Pre-season on Sunday. I can bet you two that these are two Talents including Saka. Aston Villa and Newcastle were to rip them off us. Once more congratulations for acting wisely to keep them.

  5. Whatever is said about Willock’s future with us, it absolutely means nothing at the end.

    If the management have any real desire to keep Willock here and play him regularly in the coming season, we’d have already read about a new deal for the player. That’s how they did with ESR, Saka, Martinelli and Tierney.

    I don’t understand why we need to see Willock as a part of the double pivot where he has clearly failed in the past. When he’s on a scoring streak, put him closer to the 18 yard box where he can do some real damage and let the team benefit from that.

    1. Vasc, I think you have hit the nail on the head for me.

      I always wondered why it took so long for players to be expressive, take the game by the scruff of the neck and go for the kill and use a bit of imagination.

      I have just realised that MA micromanages in zones. He gives players instructions to be in a zone and they can’t go any further without instruction. I always wondered what that right arm spinning from MA was when we were losing… now to me it says “Feck It, go for it, tactics out of the window”.

      PA is a waste of space on the left, Pepe looking like a giraffe on ice skates on the right, Willian never seeing a football before and constant crosses to nobody in the box as they are still standing in their tactically assigned areas.

      It might explain why transition from defence to attack is so slow as nobody leaves their ‘Zone’ without MA waving that right arm about.

      HALLELUJAH Thank feck for Saka and ESR, they are the complete opposite to Arteta ball. These two players have saved his bacon. But for how long…?

      I think this is why players like MG, LT and possibly AMN and JW will probably be moved on. They are too expressive in their game to fit the MA ‘process’. Might explain why Emi and MO was moved on with haste.

      I don’t rate Arteta, lets be clear. But I’m now interested in the dross that he calls football for next season… just to see if the above is right.

      The natives are back and as one… if it is the same sh!t as the last 18 months then we need to push Vinai to make a very drastic decision. Sooner rather than later.

      Oops, Willock can’t play double pivot… he plays as a roaming number 10. Don’t we need one of those?

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