Written by Joe Trafford.
‘Arteta has reportedly come out and said he has expected more from Willian in first season at the Emirates. Although he is now seeing an improvement in training.
The signing of Willian was met by mixed reviews from the fan base and elsewhere. Normally a free signing is considered relatively ‘risk-free’, however, it was the enormous wage of £200,000 per week and the length of 3 years for a 32 year-old which made the decision questionable. Especially since it has been reported that his previous club Chelsea, refused to agree to his suggested terms of 3 years.
Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it is fair to say with 26 games played so far in the league this season, it has not worked out as planned. In the first game of the season in a three nil win at Craven Cottage, there were signs of promise and excitement among the fan base as the Brazilian claimed two assists. Between that day and the most win against recent win against Leicester, he had registered only one other assist and a grant total of zero shots on target in the premier league.
However, the past week has been a potential turning point for Willian’s career in red and white. Arteta brought him on to change the game against Benfica. He grasped this opportunity and set up Tierney for a vital goal in the round of 32 Europa league tie. He then followed this up on Sunday as Arteta handed him a start away at the King Power in which he assisted two of the three goals.
For Arsenal fans, it is not only the extremely poor stats this season that causes frustration, but also his general demeanour on the pitch. Before anything else, the fans want to see effort, fight and general enthusiasm within players representing their club. These are the reasons why Kieran Tierney is so loved in North London. Prior to today, a Willian smile was a rare sight and he constantly looked unhappy. This might be unfair as it may just be his way of being, but it certainly doesn’t fend off the critics who claim he doesn’t give his all to the cause and he is only here for a final big-money contract of his career.
Yet on Sunday, we saw a bright and influential Willian who looked a different player to that of the majority of this season. We all hope he can build on this performance and continue to silence the critics because for the most part, the younger players have been showing him how it is done.’
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons