Despite the constant onslaught of criticism directed at Willian over the last few years, the experienced Chelsea winger has recently made some fans eat their words with good performances against Lille, Southampton and Brighton. I’m not claiming he is in any way shape or form back to his best but the fact is as of right now, he is most certainly in form. Is this merely just a few good games or is it an indication that he can be a key member in this Chelsea squad for the rest of the season?
Every Chelsea fan has an opinion on Willian and usually Chelsea fans would simply have him sold to make way for better players which is fair considering the younger talent we are currently bringing through. However, credit is always given where it’s due and before the current international break, he was very much one of our most inform players alongside Fikayo Tomori, Jorginho, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Those three good performances came as he started all three games – winning all three of those as well as capping it off with two goals and one assist. Perhaps not the most eye catching of performances against Brighton and Lille, but the Brazilian scored two important goals especially in France as Chelsea earned their first win of the Champions League campaign late on through his volley. Whilst the quality perhaps wasn’t there for the whole game, his willingness to work in Frank Lampard’s team with the high energy system perhaps goes under the radar.
His performance away at Southampton really underlined his overall team performance and what he contributes to the team at his best. We saw him carry the ball better than he has for a while, showcasing his dribbling ability along with his industrious workrate which saw him earn plaudits from Chelsea fans.
Where Does He Fit In For the Rest of the Season?
In terms of going forward this season, he will not be making Chelsea’s strongest eleven in my personal opinion. Hopefully Christian Pulisic can find his feet and hold down a place in this Chelsea team on the right flank. With Callum Hudson-Odoi close to starting once again, it seems as if Willian will be left out in favour of the younger talents which is something we all want to see.
I believe Lampard is using him wisely at the moment and he can be a very important player for the squad if he continues to manage him correctly. What I mean by this is that we have a very young, inexperienced team that needs experience to help them with what is for most of them, a breakthrough season at the top level. Having too much of an imbalance in terms of youth and experience could lead to problems for this team. The likes of Willian can help bridge this gap when games get tough as it will inevitably will do so as well as the likes of Pedro and Olivier Giroud who are also senior members that are important to this squad.
Consider also the competitions we will be competing in and he will be able to help give younger players that chance to rest for perhaps the bigger games in the league and Champions League. An extremely important squad member to have in and around training as well as on the pitch. Is he going to be in Lampard’s strongest eleven? Definitely not as he is past the peak of his career, but he can be a bridge in the team with his qualities being brought out by Lampard in different ways than previously. Becoming more of an all round team player should result in more performances like we saw against Southampton. Not forgetting, he is still capable of scoring big goals…