Joe Willock made his first senior appearance of the season – and of the Unai Emery era – on Thursday night as Arsenal eased to a 3-0 victory over Vorskla Poltava in a Europa League clash in Kiev.
The 19-year-old academy graduate was a calm, hard-working presence in the middle of the park for the Gunners, and was rewarded for his endeavours in the 41st minute of the match. Upon collecting the ball in the opponents’ final third, the teenager drove at the retreating Vorskla defence before coolly stroking the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to notch his first senior career goal.
With the likes of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny ahead of him in the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium, Willock still has plenty to do to prove that his long-term future ought to be in north London. However, he did his chances of making it at Arsenal no harm on Thursday night.
Plenty of the Arsenal faithful were impressed by the England under-20 international, taking to Twitter to congratulate him on his fine display…
— Shantanu Sharma (@shantanu_sh) 30 November 2018
Really excited for Smith-rowe, Nelson and Nketiah to make it at Arsenal. Willock looked good too.
— Dare [Da-Ray] (@AFCOntario) 30 November 2018
Joe Willock’s goal was class and Smith-Rowe is a substantial talent. Lots to be excited about moving forward! #AFC
— Patrick O’Meara (@pat_romeara) 30 November 2018
Willock was the official MOTM but very tight between him and ESR
— Next Generation AFC (@scoutingindoors) 30 November 2018
Good to see a Willock goal tbh, every time he’s played for the first team he’s looked so lost, looks like the goal could give him confidence for when he comes into the first team again.
— Hondo (@AFCEddie) 29 November 2018
Fantastic performance from the boys, made the trip out here more than worthwhile. Buzzing to see Joe Willock get his first goal and another one for Smith-Rowe. Great to see so many young players get a chance. #UEL #COYG
— Harry (@AFC_Harry34) 29 November 2018
Willock is better than Martial
— . (@vanpepeto) November 29, 2018