Since dropping into the Europa League in 2017, Arsenal have used the competition to hand youngsters valuable first-team experience. Arsene Wenger brought through Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah in his final season, while Unai Emery allowed Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to flourish. Last night Mikel Arteta followed suit and handed Folarin Balogun his first-team debut, but one player has remained present throughout: Joe Willock.

Starting most regularly under Emery, the 21-year-old has been more of a squad option since Arteta’s arrival in December. Involved more in cups in the second half of last season, that has continued this year; Dundalk was just his third start of the 2020-21 campaign, the previous two having come in the Carabao Cup.

Back at Emirates Stadium, Willock impressed with an extremely well-taken goal and an assist, but it was his performance over the entire 90 minutes that left a lasting impression. Compared to the opening match-day victory at…





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