A new revelation it was I must say, I mean Joe Willock.

Goal.com reports that Willock is the reason Emery’s confident Arsenal wouldn’t miss Aaron Ramsey.

At the start of the match, I expected some magic from Eddy Nketiah; I daresay most of us expected some shots on target if anything in the first half. One move that stuck out like a sore thumb was the pass from Maitland-Niles that Nketiah failed to convert.

Maitland-Niles slowed down the ball and made a pinpoint pass to Nketiah which the lad bungled. And though he tried not to show it, you could feel Niles was a tad frustrated/upset; someone was going to get a smacking in the dressing room.

Marc Joel Bola
Image: Arsenal.com
Ex-Arsenal man Mark Bola also played for Blackpool

It was Joe Willock however, who stole the show. His quick-fire reflexes saw him head in the rebound from Aaron Ramsey’s freekick.

Again, Willock scored an opportunistic goal, driving in a rebound from Alex Iwobi’s shot. What impresses is that he seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Who Is Joe Willock?

On the Arsenal fan group I belong to, the question trending for the whole of the game was: ‘Who is Joe Willock?’.

The answer to this question is obvious but, it came up because his performance was a surprise to us. We weren’t looking in his direction when we discussed who among the youngsters would pull a rabbit out of his hat. We looked more to Nketiah, Saka and Maitland-Niles.

Willock came out of nowhere; we weren’t expecting him.

For those of you who don’t know much about him, we don’t as well. But what we do know is that Joe (Joseph) George Willock was born in London’s borough of Waltham on August 20, 1999. His two brothers, Chris Willock and Matthew Willock also play football, with the former playing for Manchester United’s under-23’s and the latter playing for Benfica’s B team.

Arsenal.com describes him:

A box-to-box midfielder who glides effortlessly with the ball at his feet, Joe enjoyed a stunning breakthrough season last year, making 11 appearances for the first team. He had been a regular for the under-18s just 12 months earlier but made his senior debut in the 4-2 win against Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League in September 2017. He then went on to feature in the Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup, starting six times. He maintained his fine form at the under-23 level too, recording one goal and five assists.Arsenal.com

Another player worthy of mention is Alex Iwobi. He danced around the Blackpool’s final third and had their defenders in knots. And though you might say: “Common! It’s Blackpool.” , Iwobi turned up and that’s what really matters.

I think there’s still a lot of work to be done on Willock and vice-versa, but, I think we have an exciting crop of youngsters in the offing. From Reiss Nelson to Maitland-Niles to Smith-Rowe and Bukola Saka. Throw in Mavropanos and Rob Holding and, things start to really get exciting. Hopefully, Arsenal will not be a Real Madrid, a club with no succession plan.