Arsenal loan watch: As Matteo Guendouzi struggles in Germany, Joe Willock earning widespread praise


Arsenal loan watch: As Matteo Guendouzi struggles in Germany, Joe Willock earning widespread praise

On the back of another round of fixtures across Europe, the names of two Arsenal loanees – Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi – have come under the microscope once more.

Newcastle dynamo

Attacking midfielder Willock was of course farmed out to Newcastle during the January window, on the back of a difficult opening half to the campaign in north London.

The 21-year-old actually managed an impressive 6 direct goal contributions across 5 Europa League group stage outings, but, when it mattered most, was confined largely to the bench by Mikel Arteta.

In turn, upon Martin Odegaard’s arrival at the Emirates, it came as little surprise to see Willock farmed out on loan.

The Gunners youth product made the move to Newcastle United, to aid Steve Bruce’s men in their battle against relegation.

And Willock has since gone on to do a fine job of exactly that.

The English youth international has added a much-needed element of forward-thinking and drive to the Magpies’ ranks in the middle of the park, as evidenced by a debut goal versus Southampton last month:

It was his latest display, versus Aston Villa on Friday, though, which saw many begin to take stock of just how quickly Willock appears to be developing at St. James’ Park.

The starlet, whilst still undoubtedly raw, has looked has a considerably more well-rounded midfielder of late, neat and tidy in possession, dangerous in gliding past opposing defenders, and determined on the defensive side of the ball.

Such attributes were on full display last night, as Willock went on to earn rave post-match reviews, for a superb performance in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Villa:

Could Willock be rewarded for his fine form with a place in Mikel Arteta’s plans for next season?

Hertha struggles

As one Arsenal youngster makes strides in the right direction, however, another continues to endure one of the rougher stretches of his fledgling career.

Matteo Guendouzi, unlike Willock, was of course granted permission to depart Arsenal last summer.

This came with the Frenchman having been frozen out by Mikel Arteta, after being accused of taunting Brighton’s stars over finances during a defeat at the Amex back in June.

Guendouzi made the move to Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin, for the 2020/21 campaign.

To say that his time in the German capital has since proven hit-and-miss, though, would be putting it lightly.

At one point in the season, the midfield talent had actually established himself as a key performer at the base of Hertha’s midfield, starting week-in, week-out, and even chipping in with the occasional goal:

Recent weeks, however, have proven of an altogether more testing nature for Guendouzi.

On the back of a change on the bench at the Olympiastadion, Arsenal’s midfield loanee has fallen out of favour, as Pal Dardai opts for the likes of Lucas Tousart and Sami Khedira to man Hertha’s midfield ranks, amid a tense battle against the drop.

All told, Guendouzi has managed starts in just one of Die Alte Dame’s last six Bundesliga outings, albeit with his latest absence, earlier today, having come as a result of a fitness issue.

The former Lorient man – who has of course seen his attitude called into question on more than one occasion in the past – will need to step up in a major way over the coming months, if he maintains hope of salvaging his career back in north London.

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 29 40 68
2 Manchester United FC 28 23 54
3 Leicester City FC 28 16 53
4 Chelsea FC 29 19 51
5 West Ham United FC 27 11 48
6 Everton FC 27 4 46
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 27 18 45
8 Liverpool FC 28 11 43
9 Aston Villa FC 27 11 41
10 Arsenal FC 27 7 38
11 Leeds United 28 -3 36
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 28 -9 35
13 Crystal Palace FC 28 -17 34
14 Southampton FC 28 -14 33
15 Burnley FC 28 -16 30
16 Newcastle United FC 28 -17 28
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 27 -8 26
18 Fulham FC 28 -11 26
19 West Bromwich Albion 28 -36 18
20 Sheffield United FC 28 -29 14
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 16
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 16
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 14
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 9
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8