Willian took Arsenal fans by surprise with an impressive display on his debut which drove the Gunners to their first win of the Premier League season.
The 32-year-old was played on the right of the front three in a 3-4-3 but constantly drifted off his wing which proved crucial to the side. He ended the game with three assists, one for Alexandre Lacazette, another for Gabriel Magalhaes and a final one for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Alongside his attacking exploits, Willian also took it upon himself to support Hector Bellerin in defence which was key to keeping Aboubakar Kamara and Ivan Cavaleiro quiet during the game.
The Brazilian made his debut with Gabriel at Craven Cottage who also performed well, but manager Mikel Arteta was less worried about what the former Chelsea man could offer to his side.
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“They were both really good. For Willian it’s a little bit different because he knows the league, the country and is very settled here. So I knew his performance would happen straight away,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“For Gabriel, it was a big challenge for him today to come in. He hasn’t played football in the last six months and he had a terrific performance.”
Willian starting his Arsenal career in such a way has led to understandable optimism for the rest of the campaign, but in his 75 minutes, he provided Arteta with exactly what he needed for the bigger picture for his vision for the club. A reliable option that he can trust to perform at a high level in the Premier League.
Last season, although the Spaniard inherited a talented squad, it was heaped with youngsters. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were key players throughout the 2019/20 season with Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah chipping in also, but Arteta admitted he doesn’t want to rely on…