Arsenal legend Ian Wright has claimed that Joe Willock should start more games for the Gunners.
The midfielder has been on the fringes of the first XI recently, having started just one FA Cup game under head coach Mikel Arteta. However, despite his lack of starts, he has been able to get more game time for the Gunners this campaign in general, having already appeared 28 times across all competitions (via Transfermarkt).
Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, Wright sang the praises of the 20-year-old as he claimed he should get regular game time under the Spanish coach. He said: “I think Joe Willock, he came on again the other day, he needs more games now. He needs to be pushing people who are not performing.”
“He needs his chance now, Joe Willock. There have been people who have been bought for a lot of money, who are not performing, at the minute offensively and we do need people to step up now. And I think Willock is somebody who’s ready to do that.” (Source: BBC 5 Live Sport)
Given Mesut Ozil plays in a similar position to the youngster, it seems safe to assume Wright’s claims about players who have been ‘bought for a lot of money’ and ‘not performing’ is referring to the German. Still, a closer look at the World Cup winner suggests he is actually pulling his weight.
The Germany international has creativity in abundance compared to the youngster, averaging 2.1 key passes per top-flight game to Willock’s 0.6 (via WhoScored). This was clear to see against Burnley, where he played the joint-most key passes (2) despite having been substituted in the 63rd minute.
Who should start more often at No.10?
Arteta’s players have struggled with creativity themselves over their last three games, having amassed just eight attempts on target across their fixtures against Sheffield United, Chelsea and the Clarets. If the Gunners are struggling with their most creative outlet starting, it would be hard to envisage how replacing him with Willock would improve that statistic.
Ozil needs to be retained by Arteta as he provides quality that simply cannot be replaced, especially by a player who quite clearly doesn’t possess it.
Arsenal fans, do you think Willock should replace Ozil in the starting XI? Let us know your thoughts below!
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