Joe Willock scored a brace against Forest Green Rovers on Wednesday night, as Arsenal cruised to a 3-1 victory and the next round of the Checkatrade Trophy.
This was a must-win game to assure progression to the next round for the Arsenal u21s. They’d slipped up in a heavy defeat to Cheltenham Town last time out, after a red card in the first 10 minutes left them fighting an uphill battle, but this was a return to form for the young side.
Willock opened the scoring with a penalty, after some fantastic work from exciting talent Bukayo Saka to win the spot kick:
Saka was then involved again in the second, providing the assist for another Willock goal:
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) November 7, 2018
Forest Green pulled one back, but Tyreece John-Jules put the game beyond them in the latter stages, set up by the returning Cohen Bramall.
Despite Saka and John-Jules’ contributions, it was Willock who was the star of the show. He looked confident throughout, showing some nice touches:
Those who haven’t watched him since his last appearance for the first team could be forgiven for having doubts about the midfielder’s ability. He didn’t necessarily show his best for the senior side last campaign.
However, anyone watching Willock more regularly this year will tell you he’s come on leaps and bounds since then.
The 19-year-old has three goals in two Checkatrade Trophy games against senior Football League sides, and goals in big games against Tottenham and Liverpool for the u23s. His driving runs forward have become a key feature of Arsenal’s attacks, and it’s great to see him push on like this.
Hopefully, if he keeps this up, another first-team opportunity will follow before long.