Can we talk about Willian needing time under Mikel Arteta?

Arsenal had a fine summer transfer window, at least we thought so, after signing the likes of Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey.

The signing of the latter was proof that the club was heading in the right direction and they were serious about taking the next step as a team.

One signing, however, that we all thought would really make an impact in the team is Willian.

The Brazilian has already spent seven years in the Premier League before we signed him from Chelsea.

He won two Premier League titles with the Blues and he was certainly going to give us that winning mentality.

Willian is already 32 and he is not one of those players that you sign and hope that they will perform with time.

He was signed because of what he has done before now and because Mikel Arteta wanted him to deliver similar performances for Arsenal.

He started his first game on a bright note with two assists for us, but things have gone downhill since then, and he hasn’t scored a goal for us yet.

He recently said via Globoesporte that he was getting used to the new manager’s tactics, to me that is an excuse that I can take from our other signings but not Willian.

He is at the end of his time as a footballer and if he cannot deliver now, then we have simply made the wrong decision that Chelsea avoided making by signing him.

Tags Willian


  1. Good article. When he first signed, I read multiple chelsea comments about his up and down performances and the lack of consistency, he can go from providing 2/3 assists in a game to making little impact for the next 5.

  2. Reading Willian’s comments from another article, it’s more than just a mere adjustment. Willian stated that Arteta’s tactics have not included a lot of movement in his schemes, and more of being patient and waiting for the ball to come to him, implying a more static type of offense.
    We have also seen the FB’s getting more forward at the expense of midfielders sitting back to defend; look at Xhaka and Celballos in the Leicester game. Even Partey had the handbrake on in that game and never really got forward to make any offensive runs.
    Let’s not forget that Arteta played Willian as a ( against City; don’t recall any other manager playing Willian as a striker, so no wonder Willian hasn’t got settled yet.
    Not sure what the plan is, and why Arteta approaches every game not playing to our strengths. He has played mostly negative football to counter the opponents, rather than forcing our style on them and causing them to adapt to stay in the game.

    1. What’s our style to force on the opponents? Honestly, I have not seen a clear style of play yet.

      We can’t high press. We don’t attack well. We do defend alright in numbers but not good enough to keep a clean sheet. These are some things I’ve observed from how we have played this season.

      Really hoping for better things to come

      1. We have seen flashes of it at times; quick passing, constant movement from the players rather than static positioning, making repeated runs in the channels rather than waiting for the ball to be played to their feet.
        Now no midfielders are making late runs into the box, we don’t take on defenders but wait and back pass, midfielders sit back defensively instead of pushing up and trying to overload a side and create space on the opposite side.

        1. Some good points you mentioned Durand. I’ve seen some of those flashes too, more last season than this. This season we have been rather static when we have the ball

  3. Willian is confused because the manager and his tactics are confusing. Willian is a small frame 32 year old winger and physically his best days are behind him so asking him to press and defend, assist and score goals is asking for the moon. At this stage he is good for 20 to 30 minutes par game as in a well defined role if you are lucky.

    1. But how come the same Willian played most of Chelsea games last season, it’s not about his age, it’s about arteta tactics, most players looks confused. If you read Willian recent interview, he didn’t want to come out and say arteta is playing a negative football but the way he said it you will know what he trying to say. Willian was Chelsea best player last season so you can’t tell me he’s that bad it’s about the coach not Willian.

      1. Sorry Willian was not even close to be Chelsea best player last season. He was subbed in a lot of games . They tried to sign him to 2 year deal with lesser money because that was his worth. Agree however that Willian is confused because he is asked to do what he is not capable of doing. The same goes for most of our players.

        1. Agree. And Pulisic was by far their best player even when Willian did hit form. Not hating on Willian, but Chelsea has always had better players in their squad than him. I think it was a fine signing by us but I never expected him to have any consistency. When he’s on form he will win games for us.

  4. ” It may happen that you don’t touch the ball and get frustrated, but Mikel always says that, wait a minute, the ball will arrive. I’ve been learning a lot.”
    I think that comment alone should explain what Willian was trying to point out, we parked the bus against Liverpool we packed the ball against Man city, we packed the bus against west ham, so it’s not about Willian it’s about the coach tactics, just look at how aubamayang has struggled. Lets hope we won’t pack the bus against united on Sunday. Willian is a big game player,he’s someone who can win a tight as close match for you but you have to find a way to get him involved. I just pray whatever line up we will use against united will include Willian auba and Saka.

    1. Can’t help but find it a little amusing about Willian who has played several seasons under the legendary “park the bus” specialist, Jose Mourinho, being unfamiliar with such tactics

      1. Winston wow I don’t know that playing 2 seasons under Jose equals to “several seasons” Willian played 2 seasons under Jose and the second season he won the league so I don’t understand where you come about your “several seasons”.

        1. My bad Lenohappy, really didn’t expect the word, several, to be an issue. Mourinho was sacked in his 3rd season after returning to Chelsea. Willian was signed in the same season as his return. That’s more than 2 seasons but less than 3.

          Several is just a term I use when it’s more than a couple but not a lot. If I’m wrong about the meaning of the word, please pardon my English. Perhaps I should have been more specific and said around 2 and half seasons or something like that.

          Anyway, my point is that “park the bus” is not new to Willian, having played under someone as famous for it as Mourinho, especially during the season when he was sacked. I remembered back then that quite a number of us were mocking him for “parking the bus”.

          So I really don’t understand why Willian would seemed foreign with “park the bus”. How long do you think a player needs to be introduced to a tactic before it doesn’t seem new to him?

  5. He was the same way at Chelsea. Ask any Chelsea fan. Drifts about for most of the season but can have purple patches of great form. If management expected something different then I dont know what player they were watching at Chelsea.

    1. RSH I don’t need to ask any Chelsea fan about willian, he’s by far the most consistent Chelsea player after Harzad, Willian was voted Chelsea player of the season on 3 occasion, I remember a season where Willian carried Chelsea throughout, I think he scored 9 or 10 free kicks that season, Willian is a good player, we just need to play more attacking football and we will see the best of our attacking players.

      1. I just checked his wikipedia to confirm what I just said, Harzad was voted Chelsea player of the year 4 times and Willian 3 times so please don’t tell me to ask any Chelsea fan about willian ability.

        1. Also, apparrently there are two different awards checking Wikipedia. A traditional POTY, and a Player’s POTY. Willian has one of the traditional ones, which im going to guess is more valuable. Idk how Chelsea dish out their trophies and not really too interested either, haha.

      2. Leno, that’s never been the case. He wins player of seasons awards because he pops up during valuable times in the season but Hazard has always been the one to drag Chelsea to titles. And the two seasons he’s won it, they finished 10th, and 5th place. So really sounds like a best of a bad lot award. He is a good player, I’m not saying he isn’t but he’s always had stretches’ of games where he is very ineffective. When he is on form, he will be great, but right now he’s not.

  6. We are not scoring goals with a team that has Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe and Willian. We’ve struggled for goals since the start of the season. Something is definitely wrong.

  7. Play Aubameyang centrally
    Play Ceballos right behind him
    Let Partey have a party in the middle of midfield intercepting and carrying the ball forward
    Xhaka to sit back and distribute
    Use Pepe more consistently

  8. We need to play Willian in the midfield 3. Ceballos, Partey and Willian as a deeper-lying playmaker like Santi Cazorla sometimes played. We are a creative nightmare and Willian’s style is perfectly suited to semi-deep creative midfielder. He would adapt to that role perfectly. In a 4-3-3 a creative midfielder is imperative.

  9. Arsenal to park the bus in their Man Utd away big game in the PL on Sunday? Yes! Why not if that parking the bus in the game by them will force Man Utd current inform team not to score a single goal against Arsenal in the match I will buy in into the plan of Arteta telling the Gunners to park the bus in the game and hit Man Utd on the counter attacks to score and score goals.

    But nevertheless, the Gunners MUST in the match park the bus in the most efficient way of parking it that will not allow the Red Devils breach their fort to score in the enterity of playing the match to the very end of it when the PGMO match referee for the match in the person of Mike Dean blows the final whistle in the game signalling the end of the match.

    Before Arsenal signed Willian, I believe they would thoroughly have checked his stats and evaluated all the pros and the cons concerning him to see if he’ll fit-in into Arteta’s plans before Edu committed Arsenal to sign him for the club last summer window.

    So, for Willian to start saying now that he will need time to first settle down for Arsenal in the team before he can start to deliver in games for the club will make him a laughing stock in the minds of Arsenal fc fans.

    So therefore, Willian should wake up to the high expectations from any slumbers in him and start performing credibly well in the PL for Arsenal. But stop giving excuses to justify for his recent poor performances show in his games for the club.

  10. Agree with those saying the club should just move on regarding William. Everything about the decision screams “stop gap”,he was available,he was free and then there was the Brazilian “connection”. I hope he proves to be a good short term investment but if I have to compare two duds who are beyond their use by dates I would have chosen Ozil who would have had a lot more to offer.

  11. I expected much from him due to his experience and I will say he needs to relax and enjoy the game before anything else.

    In the mean time, I will suggest giving a chance to our young players because they showed some good signs of how much they are thirsty!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs