If you had told an Arsenal fan last week that Willian would have a huge say in our next two games, you would likely have been laughed at.
The Brazilian has had it rough ever since he joined us last summer. He became enemy number one after a string of poor performances, and he even became Mikel Arteta’s third-choice winger at times.
The Arsenal boss surprised many when he brought Willian on against Benfica when we needed two goals to stay in the competition. The Brazilian changed that game in Greece, and he was brilliant against Leicester as well.
Here are four Willian stats that might surprise you:
A flop with more assists than your stars
Chelsea and Liverpool fans were quick to jump on the bandwagon of Willian being a flop at Arsenal. The Brazilian has been poor, but his assists tally puts a few Premier League ‘stars’ to shame.
Willian, with four assists in the Premier League, has a better record than Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and expensive Chelsea buys Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz.
Says a lot, doesn’t it?
Chief creator against Leicester City
Willian deserved to start against the Foxes after what he did against Benfica a few days earlier. Not a lot was expected of him, but he stepped up to the plate big time, and his numbers back that.
The former Chelsea man registered three key passes against Leicester – more than any other Arsenal player and one short of all of his teammates combined. (Whoscored) That is a stunning record for a player who has been the centre of all the criticism this season.
Better than most Arsenal players?
Willian has five assists to his name in all competitions this season. Only Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe – six each – have more.
Massive credit to Willian for stepping up but others around him need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Just three players with over four assists is simply not good enough for a club aiming to be among the top.
Masterclass at the King Power
Willian was only awarded the assist for David Luiz’s goal but he deserved one for Nicolas Pepe’s strike as well. The Brazilian played a massive part in both goals, and he was arguably the best player on the pitch at the King Power.
The veteran had 60 touches of the ball and misplaced just one of his 35 passes. He maintained a game-high passing accuracy of 97% which is a sensational return for a creator.
Willian also completed 100% of his attempted long balls and six of his nine attempted crosses as well. (SofaScore) That is a very good record and hopefully, he can now step up and become the player we all thought he would be when we signed him last summer.