The arrival of Willian in the summer brought a mixed reaction from Arsenal fans. We all knew how good he could be when he played for Chelsea and we had high hopes he would bring some trickiness and energy to our play.
But things have not worked out at all so far, and it can’t help his confidence that he is getting more and more abuse from Gooners after yet another uninspiring performance, and he seems to be a victim of his lack of self-belief at the moment.
But his countryman (and ex-Chelsea team-mate) David Luiz is very sure that the 32 year-old will regain his former confidence and skill. “Few people know the person Willian. But those who do know can’t say they don’t love him. Because everyone loves him as a person,” Luiz told ESPN Brasil.
Everyone knows the player Willian. And everyone knows Willian’s potential. And he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone after so many years at the highest level. And he’s in a moment which is not so pleasant on the individual level because things are not happening.
But he’s an experienced, intelligent guy, who knows what he should know, and what he must do every day.
“You don’t see Willian murmuring about training, you don’t see Willian not training. He’s always dedicated, he’s looking for the best, to improve, to grow. You don’t see Willian with an ugly face on the bench. All those things.
“So he’s a guy who will get through this, he will get through this moment and he’ll still bring a lot of joy to Arsenal, to this club. Because there’s this turbulence, just as I had in the first few months.
It’s not easy, you change clubs, from one rival to another, you have all the cannons facing you. Everything you do people will compare [to what you’d done before].
Supporters on one side who loved you are sad because you left and are nervous. Supporters on the other side, who cheered against you, are like, ‘I’m not going to like this guy who came from the other side’.
“You end up feeling, in a way, just a little unsure until you adapt. My first months weren’t easy, and that’s what I try to pass on to Willian. ‘Calm down, things will work out, things will happen. Just keep working because you’re you, there’s no way to change. You’re a great person and you’re a great player. Calm down. Things are going to happen’.
That’s what we try. Everyone already loves Willian here, so I know that things will happen in the best possible way soon.”
Well it does seem strange that Willian has not really performed for Arsenal since the Fulham game at the start of the season, but he does get severely scrutinized by fans in every single game. Maybe if us fans started believing in him, he may start believing in himself?
This run of bad form can’t last forever. Form is temporary, but class is permanent.
Manchester United legend Andy Cole accuses Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta of ‘disrespecting’ Alexandre Lacazette
Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has accused Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta of disrespecting Alexandre Lacazette by not starting the striker against Manchester City last weekend.
Lacazette was left out of the Gunners’ starting line-up, with Arteta favouring winger Willian, though the France striker replaced the Brazilian on 69 minutes.
The decision not to start Lacazette irked Cole, however.
“I think he is being disrespectful to Lacazette,” Cole said
“Willian is not a centre-forward. If you have got a centre-forward on the bench, who is your top goalscorer as well, to turn around and say: ‘Look, I am going to play Willian as the centre-forward, you sit on the bench and watch him play centre-forward…’ I think that is very disrespectful.”
After the final whistle, Arteta was questioned about the decision to leave Lacazette out of the starting line-up, and the Spaniard explained: “We need to have the versatility to play in different formations, occupying different spaces.
“It was a game for [Willian], the way City plays and the way they track the opponents and the spaces that can be used.
“He was really convinced as well. It was obviously really hard to leave two strikers on the bench, but it was a tactical decision.”
Leicester plotting late transfer bid for Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Maitland-Niles, 23, is desperate to leave the Emirates this month in order to get more playing time ahead of the Euros this summer. The Arsenal man wants to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad – something he feels he can’t do given his lack of playing time at the Emirates. Maitland-Niles has started just five times in the Premier League this season and has only made one league start this month. A host of Premier League sides are interested in his services. Southampton, West Brom and Newcastle had all registered their interest.
The Foxes are proposing a six-month loan with an option to make it a permanent transfer in the summer. Maitland-Niles knows he needs regular first-team football if he’s to earn his spot in Southgate’s squad and Mikel Arteta faces a decision whether to grant him an exit before tomorrow’s deadline. Southampton are keen on a move but made it clear they are in the market for a full-back, but Maitland-Niles wants his long-term future to be in the centre of the park.
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