Yippie! Finally Arsenal Have Again a Midfielder Who Can Score From Outside the Box

Football is a simple game. Score one more goal than the opponent and you take all the points. It is also a no-brainer to state that normally most goals are scored by the attack, followed by midfield and then defence.

joe w and marti new

So long-gone are the days of perfect harmony between midfield and attack of the first-third and second-third periods of the Wenger years. Goals from Henry and Bergkamp in attack and Vieira, Ljunberg and Pires in midfield just gave us the perfect balance. Then there was the period of Nasri, Cesc, Rosicky and Hleb adding goals to the attackers’ successes.

After that we started to struggle with goals from midfield positions, and these days we seldom get one from them.

Instead we rely heavily on our attackers and in particular on Aubameyang. Going forward, Arteta will have to re-establish that midfield/attack balance again… But who is going to score the goals from the central area?

Xhaka is no longer allowed to pull the trigger from well outside the box these days; Torreira seldom scores; Ozil has always been more the assister than the goal-scorer and now hardly ever scores; Guendouzi lacks power behind his shots but he is still young; Ceballos can dance with the ball but also misses that much-needed goal-killer-instinct. It is quite a dire story.

We had a midfielder who scored regularly – if and when he was fit and back to his best – in Ramsey, but he chose the zebra outfit to sit on the Turin-bench most of the time. Surprise, surprise there are now rumours of the Old Lady trying to make some money out of him by flogging the Welsh wizard back to the PL. You’ve got to laugh.

I really like it, though, that our young all-round wing-players – whether it is in defence, midfield or attack – Saka, Nelson and Martinelli have scored goals in their first half-proper season playing in the mighty red and white colours. They are in reality more attackers than midfielders but these areas are getting much closer to each other in the modern game, so we should be encouraged.

Yet we also need goals from the central midfield positions, and there is a player who is looking very promising: Super Joe(y) Willock. The boy (still to become 21) has all you wish for in a midfielder, it seems. I love his ability to dribble with the ball and his passing; then there is good height (186cm), athleticism and a strong central/upper core when running and combatting the oppositions’ midfielders.

But there is more. Not only does Joe score goals inside the box – regularly being at the right place and right time – he also likes to score goals from outside the box, which is such a rarity at Arsenal these days. He scored one in each half he played in during the recent friendlies; and the way he took his goals, one with his left foot and one with his right one, has really got me excited again.

I know, I know it is early days but maybe this time it will all come good. After so many recent desillusions – Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey, etc – let’s have all our digits crossed that this one WILLock come good!

By TotalArsenal.

11 thoughts on “Yippie! Finally Arsenal Have Again a Midfielder Who Can Score From Outside the Box

  • Hi TA, Cheers for the encouragement bottom of last post…

    Coupla comments…

    We’ll have to see who Arteta plays. At this point I really don’t know the format for the other comps (or if UEFA and the FA, who run the cup of that name which I believe we’re still in, are also prepared to pretend like we’ve got this virus beaten…and btw, we haven’t gotten it beaten, IMO, and the “invincible” sort of folks who gather to drink and argue/fight are gonna spread it, esp. when they have to go home to live with older parents, grandparents and the like…) but Willock, it seemed to me, was more a “cup” player. Playing against teams like those in the friendlies is a bit different than against Arteta’s former club, built around some of the very best DMs… That said, surely things will have changed during the lock-down and just the announcement of the line-up will be a massive thrill. (And maybe the biggest of the match, if a beat-down ensues…)

    2nd, I’m repeating myself but I think you assign too much fault to Ramsey for leaving the club, which I really believe was a call from our finance folks, meaning Raul Saint of Yellow. (Remember, the offer on the table was rescinded; that’s dirty dealing where I’m from…) I definitely associate Juve with the less savory aspects of the financial parts of the game (remember the mid-aughts and buying prostitutes for referees to fix matches, aka Calciopoli) and nobody seems to enjoy a kick-back more than our top brass these day. If anything, Rambo should be faulted for spending too much time on OUR bench, or in our physio room. He never quite had the hamstring flexibility to match his desire to go on a (too leggy…) run towards goal… Emery needed him at the end of his one (full) season (we spiraled down in his absence…), but an “indisciplined” MF of his sort–and wanting the salary that was on offer–probably didn’t fit his (dire) footballing ideas. Would they have fit Arteta’s? Well, that’s a (or maybe THE) big question… (What ARE the ideas? What IS Mikel-ball?…)

    3rd, Potshots from outside the box are something that we might see more of in the behind closed doors game. Players–I’m guessing–are coached to resist the desperate calls of the fans to SHOOT (which are never as loud as the OUTRAGE on social media when they miss…) but, maybe they will heed the shouted urgings or a coach or three…and the encouragement of teammates to keep shooting (from positions that still would allow for some defending if the ball were to rebound and start a break the other way). But, there I go, getting all hopeful and thinking that Arteta is building a true team dynamic at the club…

    Anyhow, good post but surely you’d get more hits if you’d added “New Vieira”… 😉 TA, I’d like to hear your plans for the blog when the games return. And, will we see GN5’s series completed before then?… Inquiring minds and all that…but maybe one of us owes the other an e-mail and/or we should take things into the “back-channels…”

  • Indeed, 17HT, we will have to see how much and in which competitions Joe will play. At this age it is hard to make it but goals are a sign of maturity and that is what Willock has been about this season. To be honest, I am hoping Arteta only rushes him through IF he believes Joe is ready.

  • Re Ramsey, I don’t recall him being sad about his contract being withdrawn and it had a finger of dust on it by the time the club had enough. But you make some valid points and the truth may be somewhere in the middle.

  • Willock has a really good ability to run to just outside the box and place the ball in a corner with speed and precision. Not many have that ability. Cesc could do it, Vieira too, but Joe reminds me most of Stevie G in the way he runs to the box and takes his shots.

  • Good post Total and yes Willock certainly has all the techniques to be the complete midfielder, of course he’s not the finished article yet and needs a lot more experience and expert coaching from Arteta but I think that he could easily be a big player for us over the forthcoming seasons.

    To me, the major difference between Wilshere and Ramsey, besides style, was that one scored goals with regularity and one did not. If Ozil contributed say 10 goals a season, not unreasonable given his talent, then I doubt that he would have anywhere near to the many detractors that he does, it’s a major flaw in his game.

  • Those fans who shout ‘shoot’ every time Xhaka or an Arsenal player gets within shooting range of the goal need to be given a vigorous shaking, they are a bloody menace and add absolutely nothing to the experience.

    Do players listen, are they influenced? I’m not sure but it might have a subconscious effect on what a player is doing and rarely adds anything positive.

  • cheers Kev. Both Jack and Aaron should have been in the backbone of the team by now but, so sadly, they have both moved on AND have flopped, due to injury etc. Jack was the biggest talent but his career was killed by injuries.

    Agree re the shoot-shouters. Managers stick to their stats and they say that shooting from distance is wasteful in general. Xhaka would love to do it but I am pretty sure he has been told to reign it in. I guess the difference with Joe is that he gets closer to the 18 yard box than Xhaka and then a shot is often golden. 🙂

  • It’s heartbreaking when you see Jack Wilshere now, he should a central figure in both the Arsenal and England teams, but a mixture of bad luck, bad challenges, possibly being overplayed at a young age and not taking good care of himself has contributed to where he is now at West Ham.
    After the Hammers I fear a slow decline down the leagues unless he has an eye on coaching?

    Aaron Ramsey has definitely had more of a career at both club and international level despite the best efforts of Ryan ‘Hatchet’ Shawcross. I’m not a massive follower of SerieA so I have no idea why it’s not worked out for him in Italy and Juventus, you would have thought that his technical intelligence would have been well suited to the nullifying tactics in Italia. It’ll be quite strange if he returned to England and turned out for say Man Utd or Everton, albeit on loan as nobody is paying a transfer fee and his annual salary of almost £20m, if the figures oft quoted are correct.

  • It did not go to plan for Juve, Kev. They were hoping to sell after one or two seasons and make a nice profit on him. But now… it has all changed!

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