Unorthodox Arsenal Role for Willian a Sign of Mikel Arteta's Needs

13 September 2020 02:15

Mesut Ozil could only watch on - we can presume he actually watched - as a man one year his senior, operating in a new role on his club debut, stole the show for Arsenal on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

At 32, Willian is no spring chicken, yet in 76 minutes he produced a performance that not only justified his manager's insistence on signing him, but showcased exactly what Mikel Arteta has been missing throughout his short spell in charge.

Finding someone with the Premier League experience who can take it upon themselves to assume more creative responsibility, even at this stage of their careers, was never going to be easy. But with Arteta's necessity for added flair in that area of the pitch metaphorically falling on this lap, he couldn't refuse.

As is, Willian is the man who absolve him of this glaring deficiency. Key to note of course, is that this is just for now. Chelsea fans will be quick to remind their London rivals that performances such as Saturday will come about fleetingly. Perhaps, however, an alteration in role will ensure Arsenal see more of the Craven Cottage Willian compared to the irregular Stamford Bridge version.

Perhaps, too, the change in environment will invigorate the Brazilian for the coming season and beyond, one where he has more mentoring responsibilities and isn't lost in a sea of multi-million pound forward talent.

A caveat to all the praise is, of course, that the Gunners just took on a desperately poor side who, already it seems, face an uphill battle to beat the drop. Then again, Willian has shown he can do it against the very best this league, and beyond, has to offer.


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Source: 90min