Former Barcelona academy left-back Joel Lopez scored his first goal for Arsenal over the weekend, in a 5-2 victory over West Ham United u18s.

Joel Lopez with Spain
Joel Lopez / Instagram

16-year-old Lopez has spent the season playing left-back for the u18s since joining from Barcelona, making 13 appearances between the u18 Premier League and the FA Youth Cup. In general, he hasn’t been too involved in the goals, though he did get a nice assist against Tottenham Hotspur in the Youth Cup fourth round.

Saturday’s league game against West Ham marked the youngster’s first goal for the club, and it was nicely taken. The Spaniard skipped past a couple of challenges before firing into the net at the near post:

It’s good to see him getting off the mark. Hopefully, that will give him the confidence to take his chances when he finds himself further up the field, as Arsenal full-backs often do.

Lopez still has some way to go before he’ll be in Unai Emery’s thoughts, despite a solid first season. He’s started around half of the Arsenal u18s’ matches this campaign, which is still good going for a 16-year-old. Next season, he should be aiming to make himself a crucial part of the side, then the u23 chances will follow.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.