Alan Smith has called for calm from Arsenal fans who might get carried away from watching Willian’s recent turn of form.
The Brazilian has been heavily criticised for his poor performances since he moved to the Emirates.
However, he was one of Arsenal’s best players in their win over Leicester City and there is hope that he would start delivering for the club now.
Smith, however, cautioned that we cannot judge him by his performance in a single game considering that he had flopped in several other matches previously.
The former Gunner thanked the club’s youngsters like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard for keeping the team competitive.
He adds that the most senior members of the team have to come to the fore and help the youngsters before praising Willian for upping his level of performance recently.
‘We have to thank the youngsters for leading the charge,’ Smith told the Evening Standard.
‘Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and more recently Martin Odegaard have injected fresh legs and ideas into Arsenal’s game. Without them, especially Saka, the team may have kept on sinking towards murky waters.
‘But now some senior players need to take the strain, to give the kids a rest from providing the impetus. Inexperience leads to dips. It’s a natural part of development. Sooner or later form will suffer a bit, as seen for a short spell with Smith Rowe.
‘Because of that, Mikel Arteta must have been delighted to see Willian perk up at Leicester last week. A long time coming, perhaps, but this was more like it from the former Chelsea man. He looked sharp and invigorated as if he’d had enough of being labelled a flop.
‘I was beginning to give up on the Brazilian. I thought he’d come for the ride rather than the responsibility of helping hoist this side onto a higher plane. And that might still be the case. One lively display doesn’t answer many questions.
‘You never know, Willian might slip back into the lethargy that won him few friends.
‘Let’s hope not, though, because a motivated and vibrant Willian offers so much. His contrasting style to other players in that position gives Arteta a very handy option when it comes to rotating his team from here on in.’
Willian will now have to add consistency to his performances and that might help Arsenal to secure a European place.