Has Joe Willock done enough to earn a start against Newcastle United?

Joe Willock has been one of Arsenal’s most impressive performers in the pre-season and despite losing to Lyon yesterday he came out of the game with his growing reputation enhanced further.

The 19-year old has adapted to his midfield role comfortably, he looks assured on the ball, he makes darting runs and is not afraid to have a go at putting the ball in the back of the net.

But competition will be fierce, it is probably nailed on that Lucas Torreira will be one of the central midfielders and it is now a question of who will partner him.

Granit Xhaka is clearly liked by Unai Emery and may even be named captain, Dani Ceballos has been brought in on a years loan and unless he displaces Mesut Ozil will be in the running and of course, there is Matteo Guendouzi.

Emery could easily go with a three-man central midfield but that opens up huge questions about the front line, especially if Nicolas Pepe signs.

It is definitely an intriguing question, do you risk the teenager at the highest level in place of more experienced players?

Personally, I think he has done enough and should be rewarded with a start but I am not that confident that Emery will take the risk, he seems more at ease with Xhaka and that is a worry.

45 Comments

  1. Sip says:

    I think he has done enough to play but maybe come off the bench.

  2. Websurfer says:

    Absolutely. He has done very well, indeed. If he isn’t given the chance, who then from our young players?

  3. McLovin says:

    Mustafi + Xhaka = error waiting to happen

    So Willock > Xhaka

    And what I really dislike about Mustafi is how he ALWAYS blames the ref or his team mates when he himself is clearly the culprit!

    1. Adajim says:

      You comparing a kid to an established player? How many games has the kid played to rate him that high?

      1. McLovin says:

        I would give Willock a chance because Xhaka means = errors. Has he not already established that?

        1. Obinna Richard135 says:

          Joe wilock is a top talent, having said that I strongly believe that you can not equate an already established player with an upcoming youngster going forward Xhaka may have some flaws on his game but the gaffer so much believes in him so I will say safely that Joe wilock is one for the future and I can confidently say that the future of Arsenal midfield is bright look at it this way Guandozi (20)Toreira(22)Xhaka(25)wilock(19)AMN(21) this midfield can take us to the next decade

      2. ThirdManJW says:

        @Adajim

        With the likes of Ozil, Mustafi, Xhaka, etc, we have seen enough of them to know what to expect by now. With youngsters like Willock, we don’t know what will happen. Maybe he’ll flop, or maybe he’ll play well, no one knows, so give him a try. Surely he’s a better option than Xhaka, who we know has no pace for recovery runs, will make key mistakes, constantly get caught in possession, and often pass straight to the opposition.

        I have seen enough of Xhaka to know he isn’t good enough. I haven’t seen enough of Willock to be able to make that call.

      3. Madubueze Ozioma Wisdom says:

        Either ways, his confidence and move on ball is way better than Xhaka.

      4. Nicholus Ochieng says:

        Established on errors

  4. jon fox says:

    I agree that it seems more likely UE will prefer immobile Xhaka to fast improving Willock. And I believe that would be a mistake and wrong. Xhaka is nowhere near Arsenal quality and most of us on here are regularly saying that or agreeing with others who say it. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I saw ANY positive fan comment on him. Without mobility and some decent speed you have not a hope in hell of achieving much in our fast paced Prem. Surely the disastrous mistake of playing Merts showed that! It is even more noticeable in midfield than in defence.

    1. arie82 says:

      Xhaka is victim of wenger, who force xhaka to playing outposition.
      I though xhaka was middlefield general like lampard, he playing as cm in muncenglabah.
      But wenger playing him as dm or dlp, i still remember what wenger say about xhaka when he first arrive in here,”he must learn about tackling better”
      Now xhaka seem confusing about his position, a cm, dm or what.
      Not mastering in one position, not good enough in multiplay positions

    2. Kenny Rolfe says:

      The most annoying thing is as a defensive holding midfield player he continues to insist on taking corners. How Unai allows him to do this has baffled me for all of the past season. Teams often hit us on the break from a corner and where’s Xhaka? Walking back from the corner flag. Incredible.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Good point, Kenny?

    3. Ethiogooner says:

      Xhaka is a liability and should never be in the starting Xi i agree but, Mertesacker was a very good CB!

  5. S.J says:

    The board should just get us Tierney and Rugani. And we will seal the 3rd spot. That will be the perfect window.

    Aubameyang
    Lacazette

    Martinelli
    Cabellos
    Torreira
    Pepe

    Tierney
    Sokratis
    Rugani
    Bellerin

    Leno.

    These line up will be full of speed, technique and balance.
    Xhaka and Ozil slow us down. Football has evolved and operates very fast now. Mustafi is too reckless so they should be on the bench always

    1. Madubueze Ozioma Wisdom says:

      Please leave out bellerin from the sheet, the boy’s nt ready for football. Poor marking, poor crossing.

    2. Atid says:

      Love it, best line up I have seen, though I would replace Sokratis with holding.

      I would look to play 2 teams we have the numbers. One team for weekends (Friday – monday and one for midweek (Tuesday – Thursday)

  6. Adajim says:

    To start against Newcastle? No.
    Thats the first game of the season, he might not be able to handle the pressure and if he perform woefully, his confidence will suffer greatly.
    Just like Raul said, we dont need to put pressire on this young guns, we need to slowly integrate them else the become another wilshire/iwobi. Arsenal fans arent patient enough, no matter your age, you wouldnt be spare from insult with bad performance

    1. Adajim says:

      We have enough option in that position, dont we? Where has Toreita been?

    2. Rkw says:

      You mean compared to the way xhaka handled the pressure in must win games against palace and brighton

      1. Trudeau says:

        Xhaka didn’t play in that must win game against Crystal Palace. Wasn’t even on the bench.

        But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way if your narrative.

        1. Rkw says:

          The narrative is xhaka makes more errors ending in a goal than any other player at Arsenal … And he’s up there for the EPL according to the facts .. But you are right the guy is so shite and a scourge on the club that people desperate to see him leave like me will even attribute bad results to his malign presence even when he’s not playing!!!

  7. Joe Jackson says:

    Let’s face it, Willock is not the most talented kid we have. I think Nelson, EMR, and Saka are far more talented and have a higher ceiling. However, Willock works hard and he has the natural ability to read the game and drift in good positions. He reminds me of peak Ramsey a bit.

    1. Mohsan says:

      Matteo Guendouzi is way ahead of willock and other young guns. His ball distribution and linking defence to attack is better then any midfielder we have at de moment. So I think we should stick with him and torreria in middle with de new Spanish kid on top of diamond as no 10.

  8. Durand says:

    Not understanding why Emery doesn’t leave Torreria as a DM. He is a beast when sitting back and shielding the CB’s; wasn’t that why Sven brought him in?

    When Torreria plays as a CM he is quite average and doesn’t play to strengths of his skill set. Torreria sitting back and Ceballos playing the box to box role is a better midfield.

    Coq was a beast at DM, but poor when Wenger pushed him further upfield. I’d say the same with Torreria. Curious why Emery hellbent not to use a pure DM to protect our woeful defense.

    1. Durand says:

      Willock needs the game time to see how good he can be. Even 20 minute sub appearances better than rotting behind Xhaka.

      Not sure why Emery rates Xhaka so highly; slow, little technique, poor positioning, and late to react to counters often fouling and giving away free kicks. He’s strong and can spray passes, but is that enough?

    2. Francis says:

      Torreira is used as a CM when he plays with Xhaka because Xhaka is unsuited to play as a box to box midfielder…the midfielder to partner Xhaka should be good at tackling, forward passing and also should have good vision, mobility and reading of the game

  9. McLovin says:

    If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

    We all know what some senior players bring in the team. Errors, mistakes and that’s their consistency. Why not give a chance to a young player? Or should we wait for injuries or that the usual culprits concede goals and lose our games before we field our youngsters?

    1. Innit says:

      Youngsters = inexperience = errors/mistakes too

      Youngsters won’t get us in the Top 4

      1. McLovin says:

        Giving one youngster,ONE, a chance is hardly youngsters (plural) playing for top 4 LOL

  10. Maks says:

    Leno
    3 defs
    Torreira
    Willock Ozil Ceballos
    Auba Laza Pepe

    Looks good for a win against NU

    1. Mohsan says:

      I would replace willock with Matteo Guendouzi, he offers much more then willock and has more experience as well. Playing in pre season is one thing n playing in a match when points matter is another. Plus talent wise and need wise guendouzi ahead of willock. I’ll have him over all our midfielders any day.

  11. Trudeau says:

    Hopefully Willock gets similar game time to Guendouzi last season. After yesterday.

    When Emery wants to play with two midfielders shielding the back four, I’m happy for Xhaka to be one of them (along with either Torreira or Guendouzi). He won’t set the world on fire but keeps things ticking over nicely when he’s on song.

  12. Aligunners says:

    Willock may start from the bench
    Sami khedira link seem strong
    He can provide us experience with fit

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Aligunners, Unai Emery has stated in interview that Sammi Khedira has been linked to Arsenal three times and he is not intending to sign him.
      The rumours started again when Khedira was seen at the Emirates, apparently in London and invited by his friends (Ozil, Mustafi) to watch the game against Lyon.
      Khedira, in my opinion, is not want Arsenal need given the up and coming midfielders Arsenal has like Willock, Smith-Rowe and Burton.
      Do you think Emery is telling “porkies”, as he has been truthful thus far?

  13. NONNY says:

    Not a bad idea giving him a chance, most of us said he is inexperienced but look at the amount of game time guenduozi received last season, we are talking about some dude from French league two, if as inexperienced as he was,and was still thrown right into the lions den, with 1st game against city last season he was still our able to be one of our best performer on the day if I can still recall. Then giving Willock a chance Against Newcastle is no big deal..

  14. Mihado ? says:

    I believe he has earn it… Who knew Trent Alexander Arnold of Liverpool…?… He has the trust of klopp and look at him today he is one of the best RB in the league

    Starting him against Newcastle will be a turning point for him, He’ll know he has the backing of the coach which will trigger him to give his best, and it will go a long way in encouraging his peers

    If Guendouzi can take his chances coming from a different league… We should be confident one of our own will do same swiftly without having any problem

  15. antonioro says:

    Sami Khedira next….no need for Willock dispute…

    1. ozziegunner says:

      antonioro, please see my response above to Aligunner.

  16. Akan says:

    We have already seen on numerous occasions what the so called experienced players we can do and it is obvious to anyone with a grain of brain cell that the player in question here (Xhaka) falls way below the quality of what is expected for this club. It is also blatantly clear to anyone with eyes when comparing

  17. Jim wall says:

    Team v newcastle

    Amn. Chambo. Sok moneral

    Torrer
    Guzze. Cabello

    Peppe. Lacca. Auba

  18. Welbeck says:

    I’m not sure a young, inexperienced Willock can handle the pressure of the unforgiving fans if he makes any ‘rookie errors’in a game that really matters. If we had less expectant fans, he could play more often but, I think the manager will go for experience and gently ease the youth in.

  19. silva says:

    let’s give willock a chance to see what he can do

  20. ruelando says:

    i really can not see the love affair with Guendouzi, the starting pair in the opening matches should be Xhaka and Willock who seem to have a good understanding and should be developed on., this was seen Real Madrid and Bayern match. Now this is the same Guendouzi who made the same mistakes like Xhaka in last season, but you will not hear much mention of it, the same Guendouzi who Cellabos and Fornals made light work of in the under 21s. Guendouzi may look wonderful passing the ball, but has to be able to tackle and get pass opponents in one on one situation, when Guendouzi has a vacant middle third he looks great once it becomes compact he is loss.

    In the present day situation Xhaka should not be our DM, the intensity and speed of the game requires athletic, mobile and technically skilled players in every position, Xhaka and Guendouzi do not fit that description, Torriera and Willock do. The puzzle for me has been Emery giving Guendouzi more playing time than Torriera and when using Torriera put him in an advance role, that is RIDICULOUS. Our only natural DM

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