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Willian could still prove to be a good bit of transfer business for Arsenal

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Arsenal pulled off an impressive 3-1 victory over high-flying Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, and summer signing Willian was at the heart of many of the team’s best moments.

 

The Brazilian joined the Gunners on a free transfer having left Chelsea, with whom he spent seven years and departing after Arsenal beat them in the FA Cup final. But up until recently, his displays have been somewhat underwhelming.

 

Mikel Arteta’s side travelled to Greece and back during the week, keeping their Europa League hopes alive with a vital win over Benfica, and so the boss felt the need to make a number of changes at Leicester. He made six in total, and with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka rested, Willian started.

 

It was his pinpoint delivery that picked out David Luiz from a free-kick level the score at 1-1 six minutes before the break.

Willian also played a key role in Arsenal’s third goal when he was able to squeeze the ball through to Nicolas Pepe, who finished from close range to put the result beyond doubt.

 

Willian was instrumental in Arsenal’s Third Goal, Scored By Pepe

Add to his performance at Leicester the fact he came only as a second-half substitute against Benfica but was seen by many to be the catalyst of what proved to be a vital comeback, it looks like Willian’s finally turned a corner in his Arsenal career.

The quality has always been there and although he never scored against the Gunners for his former club, those who’ve followed the Premier League in recent seasons will have been aware of what Willian’s capable of on his day.

The issue has been that since pulling on the famous red and white shirt, those days have been very few and far between. Although there were eyebrows raised regarding the length of his Arsenal contract (three years for a 32-year-old), given it was a free transfer, even if he were to make even just a handful more of vital contributions, it will have been a worthwhile piece of business.

The recent form of Saka, the improvement of Pepe and the acquisition of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid have seen Willian start less frequently than he did at the start of the campaign when Arsenal were struggling.

Willian receiving praise from Arteta after the game against Leicester

He would have been brought in to provide experienced cover in attack rather than be a key player, so the frequency with which he was selected to start matches at the beginning of the season when the. Gunners’ form wasn’t great will have contributed to supporters’ frustration towards him.

Granted, the 32-year-old still has a long way to go before he will have convinced the entire Arsenal fanbase he is worthy of playing regularly. But there have been signs of his form is improving and given the club’s league position and standing in the Europa League, it may only take one big moment to make himself a hero. Willian can still salvage what’s been a disappointing campaign so far.

 

  • Willian was instrumental in Arsenal's Third Goal, Scored By Pepe

  • Willian receiving praise from Arteta after the game against Leicester

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https://twitter.com/ArsenalAcademy/status/1392523112919486473?s=19

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