Willian's Arsenal woe: Why isn't it working for him at the Emirates?

Willian’s Arsenal woe: Just ONE shot on target in 12 games, fans fed up with him and the club shelling out massive £220,000 a week in wages… why isn’t it working out despite a strong Project Restart with Chelsea just months ago?

  • Willian’s woes at Arsenal continued in their defeat at Everton on Saturday night 
  • The 32-year-old joined the club in the summer after leaving Chelsea on a free 
  • But the winger has since failed to impress with Arsenal sliding down the table

What a difference a few months can make.

The opening weekend of the Premier League season saw Arsenal cruise to a 3-0 victory at Fulham, their new signing Willian quickly endearing himself to fans with a hand in all three goals.

The Gunners faithful were hugely optimistic about the new campaign and the signing of the experienced free agent Willian looked like it could have been a shrewd bit of business, despite reservations over his £220,000-a-week wages.

Willian’s start to life at Arsenal has not gone to plan and the fans have already turned on him

Three months later, the former Chelsea man is being labelled one of the worst signings in the club’s history. 

And it’s hard to argue with such claims. 

Willian has been an ever-present in an Arsenal that have made their worst start to a season in 46 years. 

The Brazilian, brought in to add dynamism and creativity to Arsenal’s attack, has contributed one assist and no goals in 15 games in all competitions since that day at Craven Cottage.   

Mikel Arteta’s ‘revolution’ has crumbled, the north London club currently sitting 15th in the Premier League with Saturday’s defeat at Everton extending their winless run in the top flight to seven matches.

The Brazilian put in another ineffective display as Arsenal suffered another defeat at Everton

And Willian is deservedly getting a lot of the blame. 

With Mesut Ozil cast out, the onus has been on the 32-year-old to be a driving force for Arsenal going forward. He has failed miserably.

Arteta’s side have managed just 12 goals in 14 league games and that is largely because their ability to create clear chances has been almost non-existent.

Willian has created four in his 12 top flight appearances. Even more alarmingly, he has managed just one shot on target in that time.

In terms of numbers, all of his key statistics are well down on his final season with Chelsea, where he actually enjoyed a strong Project Restart.  

He is averaging just 0.88 key passes a game, down from 1.16, and 0.63 shots, down from 1.67.

Willian actually played quite well for Chelsea when last season restarted after lockdown

The worrying numbers don’t end there with the Brazil international going art a rate of just 1.5 dribbles a game, a drastic decline from the 4.3 per 90 minutes he was managing last season.

The reaction to Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Everton told a familiar story, Arsenal supporters flocking to social media to slam Willian’s display.

It had been another one devoid of any spark or flair, or any justification of his seemingly guaranteed place in the starting line-up.

Such an established Premier League player shouldn’t need time to adapt and at his age you have to feel that Father Time has caught up with him. 

Speaking after Saturday’s game, club legend Tony Adams said the signing of Willian was ‘lazy recruitment’.

Arsenal fans are growing increasingly frustrated with Mikel Arteta’s (R) faith in Willian

‘You’ve got to really question the recruitment process at Arsenal at the moment,’ he continued. ‘You wouldn’t have even considered Willian if Arsene Wenger was still in control at the club. 

‘For him a forward over the age of 30, physiologically he doesn’t think he can get that player to consistently to perform to the levels that Arsene would want him to get, it wouldn’t even have been on the agenda. 

‘This is a straightforward agent recommendation, he’s got the same agent as the sports director [Edu] so it’s an easy option for him, three-year contract, there we go. I think it’s really poor recruitment. 

‘One shot in 12 games. I’m like, ‘hold on put [Joe] Willock out there’, we’ve got [Gabriel] Martinelli back in there. You’ve got other options.’    

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton was equally damning in his assessment, saying Willian ‘may as well be playing in his slippers’ at the moment.

Perhaps it is time he put some on and stayed at home.   

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