Having called for more consistency from his attackers, Mikel Arteta had encouraging words for summer signing Willian whose performances in an Arsenal shirt have been a bit hit and miss so far.
The Brazil international looked impressive in the first game of the season, grabbing two assists as the Gunners put Fulham to the sword, however, he’s not been nearly as effective in his seven appearances since.
Arteta seems unconcerned at this point and firmly believes the 32-year-old will improve as he gets to know his teammates and the team’s evolving style of play. He also highlighted a small injury that has hampered his momentum.
“I think he started really well with his first game against Fulham,” said the boss after the 4-1 win over Molde, “but we’ve been changing the front three, he had an injury, and he didn’t have time to train in pre-season – he was later than the others.
“They need to generate that cohesion, that understanding, those relationships on the pitch between the front players, the wide players, in order for things to work better.
“I can see a development in the last two games, the understanding of the things I ask them to do, it’s probably different from what he’s used to. He’s getting better and better, we all know the quality he has, and he’s a great option to have on the pitch.”
Eyebrows were raised when the Gunners committed to a three-year contract to lure Willian away from Chelsea, but the boss thinks he’s got a matchwinner on his hands.
“He’s a player who can make the difference, he’s got the ability to find the last action to open the door when everything is really tight.
“To score a goal, to make an assist, and as well the personality he has on the pitch to manage the game we need in certain moments. At Old Trafford, I thought he did that really well.”