Game changer Willian
Having just gone two goals down on aggregate Arsenal were desperate need of help from their substitutes.
Mikel Arteta turned to his bench and saw Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette all ready and waiting to come on and support his team.
The man he went for in his time of need though was Willian.
It is no secret that the Brazilian has had his struggles since moving from Chelsea in the summer, and there were many fans on social media who were unhappy with the decision to bring him on over anyone else.
But just four minutes later Arteta’s faith in the 32-year-old had been justified, as he popped up with a vital assist for Kieran Tierney’s equaliser on the night.
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After the game the Arsenal boss was keen to stress the impact he felt the Brazilian had made on the side and credited him immensely with keeping the Gunners in the competition.
“I have to mention the subs because all of them made a difference,” he said.
“Willian specifically I think he changed the game he gave us much more composure in moments, produced some creativity, produced the goal for Kieran and we need everybody on board.
“In this competition having the ability to make five subs that’s a big bonus.”
When asked to clarify exactly how he thought Willian had made such a difference Arteta added:
“Because there wasn’t much space to run in behind. It was a really tight two lines of 4-4-1 or 5-3-2 at times. They were a really low block not much space to run apart from when they set the line around the 18-yard box.
“So you need people to unlock that special qualities in tight spaces to create moments and I think Willy he was really helpful tonight.”
Willian celebrates with his Arsenal teammates in their 3-2 victory over Benfica in the Europa League Round of 32…