Report Willock impresses as Arsenal start Youth League campaign with victory over Zagreb


Arsenal U19s commenced their UEFA Youth League campaign in impressive style today as they secured a 2-0 victory away to Dinamo Zagreb.

Chris Willock played a prominent part in proceedings, with the England youth international opening the scoring with an excellent strike before winning the penalty from which Ben Sheaf made it 2-0.

Arsenal were able to field a very strong side, especially in an attacking sense, despite the fact that they were without the injured Jeff Reine-Adelaide. In the Frenchman’s absence, schoolboy Reiss Nelson was afforded a start and was largely impressive.

Keto

Moore-Bielik-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola

Sheaf-C. Willock

Iwobi-Hinds-Nelson

Mavididi

Subs: Huddart, Da Graca, T. Bola, Agyei-Tabi, Mourgos, Eyoma (for Hinds, 86), Dasilva (for C. Willock, 77).

Zagreb started brightly, with Amer Gojak doing well to find Ivan Bozic, but the latter’s effort was well held by Hugo Keto.

Arsenal then provided an indication of their attacking attributes as Nelson exchanged passes with Alex Iwobi in a neat move, but Stephy Mavididi was unable to apply the finishing touch.

Nelson then went for goal himself but saw his shot saved after he was located by Krystian Bielik. Keto subsequently had to make a couple of commendable saves as Zagreb briefly threatened, but Arsenal ended the half in the ascendancy and managed to take the lead before the interval.

Firstly Mavididi shot just over then Willock opened the scoring in impressive fashion as he manoeuvred his way past two players prior to finishing adroitly.

Arsenal’s dominance continued after the break, with Iwobi having a shot saved and Bielik heading over from a corner.

The young Gunners were evidently in control of procedings and they then doubled their advantage when the ever-dangerous Willock was fouled in the penalty area and Sheaf converted the spot-kick.

Zagreb weren’t exactly a spent force, however, and threatened the Arsenal goal thereafter, hitting the woodwork with one opportunity.

However, Arsenal’s lead remained intact and this victory represents an excellent start to the group stages for the youngsters. The pre-season success in South Africa rather whetted the appetite for a fruitful Youth League campaign and, even though there is a very long way to go, the early signs are certainly very promising indeed.

16 comments

  1. By the way, Jeorge, what’s going on with Joe Willock ? He is an England youth international and very highly rated.Why isn’t he playing ? Doesn’t he want to extend his contract ?

  2. Hey Jeorge. What’s going on with Stefan O’Connor, he’s just got 20 minutes from bench in one game whole season. Is he injured, he’s been training with first team at least once however, according to your reports. What’s his situation, Injured or lack of fitness or something else. Maybe late rapid growth or something like that? I thought he would been first choice centre-half with Pleggy, but he’s not been involved in last two games at all, not even in bench.

  3. Can anyone say who are those two on the last picture in arsenal.com with Jonker and Thierry in bench, there’s JB and RG on their chest?

  4. RG is Ryan Garry, an ex Arsenal player, whose career was wrecked by bad injuries. He had a number of years with AFC Bournmouth, he is now one of the youth coaches, he was in charge of the U13’s but he seems to have moved up to the U18’s and U19’s this season

  5. the JB might be Jason Brown, he is a goalkeeping coach, but I thought it was with Arsenal Ladies and not the youth set up, but maybe its both

  6. Ah, Ryan Garry, did he not make his debut in the game where Jermaine Pennant scored a hat-trick?

    He was a very very good player who cruelly lost out in much the same way as Bobby Harding and Paul Brandon.

    Spoke to him outside Highbury once and found to be a very nice fella.

    Hopefully he’ll have a very successful career with us as a coach…

  7. Don Howe once said that Ryan Garry was the best defensive prospect he had ever coached, sadly a badly broken leg, which almost seen him lose it, wrecked his Arsenal career, and he broke his leg at AFCB too, maybe even twice, so unlucky, but its great to see him forging a coaching career back here at Arsenal.

  8. That’s it Eduardo, Southampton.
    Bobby P got a hat trick as well…

    It’s always sad when any players’ career is wrecked by injury, but it seems even worse when it’s a youngster who hasn’t even had a chance…

  9. You can watch the full game against Zagreb from Arsenal.com. They played quite good actually. Nelson was pretty good. This group of players looks very good. I think we will see Iwobi in the first team soon. He looks like yaya/pogba to me.

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