Sunday, September 24, 2023

Arteta: Willian deserves support and protection

Mikel Arteta says it’s only normal that Willian’s performances for Arsenal have come under the microscope but he believes the player deserves to be protected because of his professional attitude on and off the pitch.

Asked a somewhat pointed question about the Brazilian’s form in his pre-Benfica press conference, it wasn’t exactly surprising that the boss opted to defend the 32-year-old’s reputation although you suspect that privately he’s more than a little frustrated at his inability to get the best from the summer signing from Chelsea.

“What he’s doing at the moment, the way he’s training, the way he’s working, the way he’s willing to give everything to the team is what I demand,” Arteta said on Wednesday night.

“Whether he’s more successful or less successful in the game is another matter, it will come with the quality that he has but this is what I demand to every player.

“A full commitment and to put the passion and everything they have in every training session and when they have the opportunity to play and so far Willian has done that every single day.”

Asked if criticism of the midfielder, who three assists in 24 appearances this season, has been undeserved, Arteta added: “I don’t say it’s unfair because with Willy the expectation is really high in terms of the goals he can score.

“The assists he can create, you expect him to be in the starting lineup as well so it’s normal that people write things about him. We have to protect him, we have to support him as much as we can because he deserves it from the way he handles his profession and the way he is with us.”

Since the turn of the year, Willian has completed 90 minutes just once and appears to have fallen down the pecking order behind Emile Smith Rowe and new loan signing Martin Odegaard. It remains to be seen whether he’s given a chance to shine against Benfica. “He’s part of the squad so he’s got a good chance,” noted Arteta.

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What about Nelson and Martinelli Mikel?

Exactly. As others have rightly said there are younger and hungrier players in the squad who could use that level of support provided to Willian. I agree that no one deserves that level of abuse for simply practicing a sport, even if practicing it horribly. For the not bat-s**t crazy amongst us supporters, our criticism lie in the fact that he is severely underperforming and yet receives a lot of minutes. That is simply not meritocratic regardless of what Arteta says. It is obvious that the player is more focused on his life after football at this stage in his… Read more »


I agree with your first two paragraphs. He’s not performing – that’s clear for all to see and as such doesn’t deserve a place in matchday squads ahead of other players (we all know who). I don’t however, think it fair to question his motivations. You can’t say he’s dialing it in. He could just as easily be the he’s not as good as he once was. His effort may be undiminished. No one wants to be in a job they don’t feel capable of doing. We don’t know his motivations/ thoughts so to state “it is obvious” is a… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Are any clubs purely meritocracies? Obviously Willian has been poor this season and the decision to give him a 3 year deal looks worse and worse the longer that carries on. But there have been countless examples of good players going through bad patches or struggling to settle at new clubs – they don’t just get chucked on a scrapheap, that would be madness. I remember a certain T Henry really struggling when he first joined The Arsenal and, whilst they’re obviously chalk and cheese quality-wise, it shows that even the best players need patience, support and backing sometimes. I… Read more »


Better man management would be not to play him, thus removing the need for their to be a discussion as to why he’s playing. It’s not good for Willian or every other player deserving of an opportunity ahead of him.

Gus Caesar

This doesn’t make any sense. How is dropping a player forever and consigning him to a disaffected and expensive dustbin good management? It’s in the club, Willian and the whole team’s best interests for him to rediscover his form he is able to show.


The thing with players at his age is clubs are happy to sign them short term because they are so experienced they are normally able to play at a consistant standard from the word go. For whatever reason Willian cannot. With young players as they become experienced they normally get better. Nelson and Martenelli will get better with experience. The trouble is Willian is a veteran player and time is not on his side. At his age he only gets worse as he gets older. If our veteran player cannot play well now why not invest the playing time in… Read more »


Well said. I’m not going to get embroiled in this as 90% of the fans on here have made up their mind, but thank you for your sensible efforts.


You bring him in as a sub when he’s needed and let him slowly build confidence. Lord knows we have the injuries to accommodate a patient approach


Right now, I wish rather that Willian’s parents had used protection.

Once a gunner

I think this person should be ban among sane people


That could mean you not being born.


For me, this is the type of comment that doesn’t belong on this site. Just my opinion, of course. 😉


Here we go again. I am no Willian fan but he was a very good player for Chelsea (one of the better ones in the league actually) and Arsenal felt that there was some value in getting an experienced head as a free transfer. 3 years was a bad call but it is what it is and we clearly wouldn’t have got him if we hadn’t offered that. He hasn’t worked out (so far) like many signings at all clubs don’t but we are stuck with him and we have to get some value out of him. He’s a good… Read more »


While playing him in any particular situation can make sense – save Pepe for Europe etc., it’s the fact that he continues to get minutes over players who need them (Martinelli/Pepe etc.) and are performing significantly better than Willian that baffles. By all accounts Willian was an Arteta signing & he appears to be doing everything he can to get Willian going to justify the signing. We’re at a point though where we can effectively write off year 1 as a total disaster & if at all possible need to cut our losses with him. This really should lead to… Read more »


A bit of the rose-colored glasses/revisionist history there. William was usually good, but rarely great for chelski. No superstar, not by a mile. Not great. Not much more. We got stuck with this total has-been/never-was by the scum bag Sanlleji and Kia Jor-whatevertheFuckian. We got taken. Admit the mistake and move on – move him on. Get value out of him by moving him out of the way of all of: Pepe, Nelson, and even Marinelli. There is value in those players, all young with bags of ability and needing games/development. Playing Willian instead, while at the same time hurting… Read more »


Eff off!
Wish the gaffer supported Nelson as much and offered him as many chances as this guy.

A Gorilla

Devils advocate here, but ….. no you’re right.


I’m guessing he wanted Willian and he won’t be cheap.

To be fair in the short term it looked like it should be a good buy, he got plenty of goals and assists last season.


To be fair, it never looked like a good buy. Most fans on here, and blogs questioned the deal before it went through. I don’t recall seeing to many posts from people excited about his imminent arrival,


*too many”. I can spell, honest


I said in the short term. 3 year deal always seemed like t could be too much. You can also look at the other players we have and question why we signed him at all but I don’t think anybody expected him to be this bad.

The whole team went down the pan soon after he arrived. So far he hasn’t recovered.


This is an article about a direct question relating to Willian and his current performances. If he was asked directly about Nelson and gave this answer then I would understand your comment but he wasn’t so I don’t.


Nelson has seldom impressed me.


Surely you can see the raw talent there. His speed and quick feet are obvious, if he can develop more of an all round game around that (you can see the building blocks are there) then he could be a potential weapon, even if its just to bring off the bench and provide a bit of chaos and change a game. Certainly I’d bank on him providing us with something a bit different against a team we’re struggling to break down more than I would with Willian. I just think he desperately needs some game time. When he was playing… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Raw talent at 21 is not enough. Unfortunately the case of Nelson is similar to that of Maitland-Niles. The fans are biased because he’s a youth product and British and everyone yearns to see more Sakas, but it leads to rose-tinted spectacles. Nelson was an excellent young talent but, like all youngsters, they need to grab their chance with two hands when they come along because they don’t come along often. He’s had over 40 chances, much more than most ever get and I can’t really say that he’s made the most of them. The odd goal, the odd assist… Read more »


Thank you for being sensible. Again. And putting your point across in a sober way. I am guilty of wanting “our own boys” to succeed, so I am 100%the supporter you describe. Also: I want Willain to do well. He’s not. Obviously. Wont help him or the team to bash him constantly. Hasnt helped picking him. Hasnt helped subbing him on. That doesnt make him deserving of personal abuse. Nor does it make Arteta an idiot. I want us to play some of “our own” and I agree with those that say that this would be a better investment. That… Read more »


I agree on Mainland-Niles but I think Nelson is different. You say he’s had over 40 chances, but when has he actually had a proper run of games? You say he looks scared witless and afraid to do what he does for the U23, obviously that’s nerves from feeling that massive pressure to take his chance because they’re so unevenly spaced. The few times he’s come close to having a run of games, I’ve seen game by game improvement from him, which is why I hold out hope. I do agree that a loan is probably the best thing for… Read more »


Compare Nelson to Willian, and then comment again why we are being forced to watch Willian every week.


Get him on a season long loan next season with an option to buy. Ideally to Tottenham.


Arteta is too nice about Willian.

He hasn’t shown much on the pitch to justify the huge wages that he is getting, match after match, and is a drg on us, I’d much rather see Pepe or Martinelli on the pitch.

It’s been a mistake to sign him (I’d love to be wrong if Willian truly is looking good in training but I can’t believe he is anywhere near as good as the others like Odegaard, ESR, Saka etc).


I’m sure we are all united that Willian has been little short of a disaster, but realistically what is Arteta going to say? He’s not going to say “fuck he’s stinking the place up, lolz!!”. But I do think he is making a poor decision every time he puts him on the pitch in a PL game, and playing him over and above Martinelli feels like a dangerous game with little end value.


See below.

Bai Blagoi

Sure he is going to reply as he did, the real question is why he keeps playing him? If he had benched him like he would have done with any other player, he wouldn’t have needed to say anything.

Gus Caesar

Because he’ll only get his form and confidence back by being played.


It’s a bit like chasing a bad bet at this stage. Willian will not play himself out of a funk from the bench so I understand Arteta giving him minutes in the hope he can rescue something from a player he signed off on. However, the first rule of gambling is knowing when to quit. Even if Willian turns it around, at 32 what realistically is the best we can hope from him? Above average squad player? The second coming of Saka he is not. Every time he plays and doesn’t perform from now on, it’s no longer on Willian… Read more »


It must be embarrassing for him, walking round the training ground, surrounded by a bunch of kids earning a fraction of what he’s getting, knowing each one of them is better than him, and that they know it too. He may have been great at his old job, but he’s not done it here. He’s got no stock in the bank or goodwill from the fans to tide him over this slump. That’s generously saying it is a slump and not terminal decline of course…

Gus Caesar

Yeah, i’m sure the man with 70 caps for Brazil, two league titles, 2 European trophies and 2 cups is really embarrassed.

Bai Blagoi

This is exactly why it should be embracing. Nobilitas obligat.


My best guess is that Willian was a signing that Arteta pushed for. By playing him repeatedly, Arteta is hoping that something clicks and he has some justification for the expensive deal.

Only that, this looks like someone trying to jumpstart a donkey cart but without an actual donkey.

Gus Caesar

Arteta’s job is to get the most out of all of his players. He doesn’t really have any choice but to try his best to jumpstart Willian. A good Willian could be really useful. A bad one stuck on the sidelines like Ozil is of no use to us at all and a another very expensive failure.

Merlin’s Panini

A bad one in the team is even worse.

Gus Caesar

The logical extension of your argument is therefore that Arsenal should have binned Henry when he had a shocking first year at the club. All teams have players who are out of form from time to time, ditching them as soon as that happens is reckless and a foolhardy way to run a football club. There’s ultimately only one way to get players out of a funk and if you’re stuck with a player for 3 seasons then you’d better do the most you possibly can to achieve that. What would help is playing him in the position he’s accustomed… Read more »

Gervinho is Driving

Henry was 22 when he came to the club. As for giving Willian minutes at his best position, he started the season as first choice there.

Dr. kNOw

Excuse me! Excuse me!! What is this myth that Henry was shocking in his first season?? I read it earlier (was it you?), wanted to ignore it, but a correction is needed. This is as I remember it: He turned up in 1999, started on the wing as Suker was the main striker and, admittedly, had a few rough months. He moved to the centre by the turn of the year, scored consistently, firing the team to the UEFA Cup final against Gala (he should have buried them, just like Barça 6 years later), and was the hottest striker in… Read more »


The picture above is funny, Willian looks confused – has Arteta said that he wants him to pass to other Arsenal players and to run around?


Past blaming willian now. For whatever reason it’s just not working for him. The fact that we gave him 3 yrs and continue to give him game time over and above some younger players with a potentially bigger future and impact is down down to the manager. Arteta must live and die by his decisions like all managers. This one could well bite him in the arse.


Does he? Does he really?



I’m sure Arteta is being protective to give a signal to the whole squad that he isn’t going to reveal bad stuff to the public, but Willian can’t be shining in training given his performances on the pitch.

Let’s hope some of the other, better players play regularly and Willian is moved on and we get Odegaard or someone else talented and hungry instead.


MA is using different ways to seniors and youngsters.
He followed closely how Pep managed the generation change on City from Toure Aguero and Kompany and trying to raise the bar for the youngsters.
However City has the capacity to buy whoever whilst we are heavily depending on our academy.
We shouldn’t invest any minutes to un sellable assets.
Give the minutes to Nelson Martinelli and Pepe and sell them afterwards if they prove less. But Willians Luizs should be only stop gaps in case of injuries

santi's thigh grab

Agree, Mikel needs to focus a little more on building squad value through playing time minutes of academy talent and only give time to seniors who have no resale value if they are in form. This is not hard to understand. So why is he playing him at all?


Think the poor fellow deserves a pipe and slippers.

Cliff Bastin

Even Gervinho was better.


Whoa, that’s a big call 😉

Disarmed Gunner

Now, now there’s a correct name for that. It’s called a forehead

Corona X

Wasn’t it Fivehead?



Cliff Bastin

Granted, not by much. But imagine ending your Arsenal career with less output than Gervinho.

Hulahoops Baptista

Squillaci, Gervinho, Silvestre, Chu-Yung Park, Willian.

We could argue who worse footbalistically (toss up between silvestre and willian in my opinion), but financially Willian is undisputedly the biggest train wreck, 2.5 years left of this nonsense.

Corona X

I’d add Sanogo on that list. Or does he get away with it due to confusing the hell out of Bayern? 🙂

Cliff Bastin

Sanogo has more FA cups than Harry Kane

John C

Nonsense, the 4 listed before were by far worse financially because we could have afforded better but decided to be cheap.

Willian, for better or worse, is an attempt to stretch a limited budget.

How much would you realistically expect to pay for a multiple league title winner with 70 Brazilian caps?

Public Elneny

Gervinho had great off the ball movement and energy, was always popping up in great positions

But then, you know, the final ball…

The polar opposite of Podolski


Gosh. How I miss the giant foreheaded Ivorian now.


I would argue he gets more support than any other Arsenal player. He has the support from the fans of any of the 19 other teams in the premier league every time he steps on the pitch to play against their team.


And yes.. saliba, nelson, ainsley, martinelii, they deserve far better treatment from you Mikel..despite you wasting anything you can with this piece of not so cute thing.


I’d add guendouzi and torreira there. We have (had) assets who could’ve contributed with proper management instead of sending them away. Then we complain we have no options in midfield.

A Gorilla

Only so many players you can have in a squad to be fair


A list of bang average players more like (with exception of Saliba and Martinelli).


Do you know how much bang averages cost now days? Could bring in 15m to 30m. While the highly paid pensioners 0.

Merlin’s Panini

Yeah some clubs can bring in that money but we can’t even get a cent for ours. Remember January?

John C

Because we pay them too much

Paul Roberts

It seems with Arteta if you put a shift in in training and do what he says you get in the team regardless of form?


Then there’s hope for us all, I can run like the wind when I need to! Just ideally don’t pass me the ball or ask me to tackle anything with quicker feet than a tree stump.

Cultured Determination

I’ve identified our next superstar signing then. remember on YouTube there was this Vietnamese fan,who ran with the team bus over a long distance and then finally got to go up the bus and get his pic taken?


We’ve all worked in companies like that right? The director’s useless favourites get promoted, whilst anyone talented who challenges the direction gets hounded out. Doesn’t make for very successful companies

Disarmed Gunner

Sad that hard work, graft and tenacity has replaced skill and guile. I understand that is the way the modern game has shifted but it’s still depressing to see hear. Willian, at 32 (although could well be 40 for all we know ) apparently deserves ample opportunity to run about and be a lawnmower. I thought we signed him to score and assist goals? Meanwhile, Martinelli must be an awful trainer (unlikely) based on the little time Arteta gives him. One player has umpteen potential, the other is ready for the glue factory. Which one do you play? A million… Read more »


Hyperbole much?

Notice how Foden was managed at City and the rewards they are reaping now?

The answer to player development isn’t always just dropping them into the first team and saying ‘off you go’.

Disarmed Gunner

Foden couldn’t get in a team of superstars at Man City. Rightly so. Martinelli can’t get in ahead of some journeymen and something called a Willian.


Spot on.


I think that is a very good point Dave. Surely playing Nelson and Martinelli every week is not the answer. But it is hard to see Mikel has a plan for them (but I hope I am wrong). Currently at least it seems those 20 minutes here and there given to Willian could have been brought to a better use (and I am not saying that you disagree with that).

Gus Caesar

Dave, your comments on here today have been like a breath of fresh air.


Weak argument, city had and have far better players than we do as a squad, hence, they could be more patient and gradually introduce foden. One of our best younsters Martinelli has been with us long enough now and done enough already to prove that he should be starting more in the first 11. If you are good enough you play no matter what age ergo Arteta rates Willian (at this stage) a more effective player than Martinelli. Most of us however do not agree. Did cesc not play for us regularly from the age of 16/17 under wenger? Did… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Wenger also stuck by many players who had a slump in form. He was the last person to suggest chucking them on a scrapheap because he realised the fallacy of doing so. A good manager recognises and does his best to unlock the talent in all of his players.


Slump in form? JFC. He has been shit for well over half a season.

Eddy F

I’m sure positionally Willian is perfect. But his workrate is poor (often the first player to start walking round), his passing is very shaky (misplaces even simple passes far too often) and I can’t remember the last time he actually beat a man.

He offers nothing going forwards. If anything, he detracts from our attacking play because when the ball goes through him it inevitably slows down, goes backwards, or we lose it.

Time to call time and try and shuffle him off to the MLS if possible.


Seriously?! Have you even watched him play??! How he adds value during break away play? How he skillfully receives a short pass, controls it, stops the fall at his feet, stands over it, waits for 2 defenders to cover, other defenders to get in position and then like threading a needle, passes the ball backwards to Xhaka/Luiz??!!! A Brazilian footballing god after Pele. Last heard that other 19 PL teams are planning to fund his 250k per week to just watch him play – only condition being that he should start against them, no matter what! There’s not a day… Read more »


Makes me wince everytime I see the ball going anywhere near him. So bad. Surely can only improve, but I’d very much like us to find a way to exit the fella come summer.

With all that said, I still think these people I hear about that are giving him constant abuse on social media are sad little bellends who need to get a life and just support the team / criticise respectfully, or not at all.


Of course the manager defends him in public – he has to. Willian, even though he has been really poor on the pitch doesn’t deserve abuse from fans.
However, Arteta needs to stop playing him. He has done nothing to deserve all his subs recently

Hulahoops Baptista

He absolutely does not have to defend him in public, that is a choice. A choice which is making Arteta/Arsenal look a fool. Here’s an example of what he could say after dropping Willian: “Willian has been out of form, it’s now up to Willian to demonstrate that he has the qualities to reclaim his place in the team.” Or “Player X who came in today has been training well and earned his space in the team today. It is now up to Willian to respond and prove that he deserves to retake his place in the match day squad.”… Read more »


Absolutely spot on. Best summary on here of this situation. Arteta shouldn’t be mollycoddling a 32yr old brazilian international who has won many trophies has vast premiership experience. He can offer or place a reasonsble output requirement on him without slagging him to death in public. It bull shit Willian is a big boy, whole scenario stinks of Arteta’s stubborness or refusal to accept that the Willian move has not worked out at all. This isn’t a give him time and have patience scenario this was supposed to be a hit the ground running one. He has given us absolute… Read more »

K man

I have not disliked a player more than Willian at Arsenal before.
He gives nowhere near 100% effort and looks like he’s just rolled out of bed every time he comes on.


I agree, with the amount of money he earns can’t have proper grooming & hygiene.

Jack of All

I mean….Gallas?????

Jack of All

I got a downvote! I knew there must be and Arsenal era Gallas fan somewhere 😂😂


As long as it stays only one, I must assume it’s Gallas himself.

Hulahoops Baptista

Play willian if you want to play willian. But jesus, is this Arsenal FC or Willian FC, who’s meant to be helping whom? This situation is getting beyond bizarre and the endless questions and ridiculous answers aren’t helping.


Arsenal fans deserve to not see resources wasted on dodgy agents stitching up our club with over the hill players on three year contracts.

I maintain I don’t blame Willian for this. It’s all on whichever fuck head at executive level sanctioned it.

A Gorilla

Bang on. I have given Willian grief in the past but I really shouldn’t, it’s the fault of those who made the deal and the manager for picking him.

Graeme Brush

Agreed. As with Pepe, the size of contract price is not his fault but, again as with Pepe, it is up to him to push that from our minds by performing on the pitch during games – not just in training. Gabi, Reiss and others also deserve support.

Gus Caesar

So your answer is to waste resources by not trying at all to get him back to the player he once was and just allow him to rot on the sidelines? A perfectly consistent and logical argument! Have you never heard of bad form in football before?


I’ve advocated a few times that while we’re stuck with him he can be thrown on as a sub to rest weary legs in games we already have in the bag. That’s about the best we can hope for with him. If he wants to use those minutes to improve then he’s welcome to do so. It’s yet to be seen though.


Just another 2.5 years of his ‘hard work’ to go!




We give them Cole (in his prime), Giroud, and Fabregas (remember Wenger declined the option to take him back from Barca because we had Ozil, which paved the way for his move to Chelsea).

They give us Gallas, Luis, Benayoun, Czech, and Willian.

What smells worse…Willian’s performances or the scope of our business with Chelsea?

Agreed. We are like the backroom dishwasher staff at an upscale restaurant. Chelsea is the head chef and yet we are paying them to eat the leftover scraps the customers don’t want to eat.


I think it is a bit unfair to lump in Czech (he was old bu still great, kept playing him behind porous defenses) and Benayoun (hard working, and a decent loan deal).


This signing was a mistake to begin with.. let alone giving a 32 yr old a 3 years contract. absolute mental if u ask me. Simply down the pecking order.


I highly doubt MA believes in what he says. It seems he is strong armed to say stuff. If we manage to give Luiz another contract I would be sure we are forced to instead of the other way round


Arteta you can say he needs but he doesn’t fucking deserve it. He went to Dubai in middle of a pandemic ffs

Philip Visser

That tells you a lot about his so-called professional attitude on- and off the pitch. More and more it would seem he’s given time for non-football reasons because sure as hell I can’t see a single football reason – after 24 games – why he should be given game time. As many other fans have commented, more game time for Willian means less for other younger players who need to grow and develop. Arteta is gonna keep playing him – because he believes- “his quality will come out sooner or later.”


Guys I’m honestly worried that Arteta is going to persist with playing him, to try and play him into form. I’m not even joking when I see him coming on as a sub I have a mini panic attack. During the game against Leeds ‘not Willian’ had started trending. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but please please stop playing him


I seem to recall Kia criticising Ozil’s agent on talkSport and saying that it is the agents job to find a way out for a player when things aren’t working out at a club. Will be interesting to see his solution for his own player, Willian in the Summer.


He never really scored that many goals in his prime & his overall goal contributions stats never indicated that he would add many “goals” to Arsenal at this stage in his career. Given the amount of exciting potential/talent trying to break through at the time that we bought him, this will go down as one of the most puzzling transfers ever. His main contribution so far has Ben to block opportunities for young talent. It’s certainly looking like being one of the worst value-for-money signings already. I don’t have much confidence that Arsenal will have the balls to admit that… Read more »

Philip Visser

Totally agree. Sadly admitting mistakes is not gonna happen. Paying $75m for Pepe was a $40m mistake. I haven’t seen anyone admit it or take responsibility for it. Now the price tag is used to whip the guy by media and pundits with little protection from Arteta – at least publicly – for the player. With William the mistake of a ludicrous, lucrative contract, is used to justify playing him. Arteta, the Board and management must think fans are stupid to buy their justifications. How Ozil’s case was handled gives you another indication how the club is handling such situations.… Read more »

HOJ Iceland

Isn´t Willian still a Chelsea player trying to damage Arsenal… looks that way to me. I feel as we are down to 10 man when he enters the field of play.


Spurs. I’m convinced the man is a Spurs agent. Chelsea fans suffered Willian for years.

Alex Nagy

To be honest, I feel he’s lucky that the stadiums are still empty, can’t imagine the abuse he’d get if we were at full capacity as he appeared ready to come on on the touchline. I think Mikel won’t openly criticize as that’s not the right course. We can only hope that a club from Middle east or Asia comes in for him because he’s a big name Brazilian and takes him off our hands in the summer.


Well said.

I brought this up a while back.

If fans were allowed back en masse, then the Emirates faithful would be giving him the good news, tea and biscuits not required.

Think Eboue turned up to 11.


I’m sorry, but this has now gone way beyond a joke. Like I said before, I am not one of those screaming for Arteta’s head, but the jury, as far as him being a long term manager of this football club is concerned is still out in my opinion. In all probability, we will end this season mid table and trophyless. That being the case, there would normally be room for mitigation in a new manager if the he had utilised the resources available to him. But he hasn’t. Selecting this idiot, game in game out, is clearly not utilising… Read more »


Arteta will know what it’s like if only the fans were in the stadium to make their opinion known of Willian


I got a promotion at work once, and I was ahit at my new job. I tried really hard, and gave it 100% effort, professionalism and commitment, so my boss supported me but at the end of the day I was still shit at it. We then realised that job wasn’t for me.

This job isn’t for Willian. Try something else.


Unfortunately, he doesn’t have to leave and we can’t sell him – the market for 32+ year old players in a little limited, unless you’re Messi – so the “trying something else” option isn’t valid in this case.


In your case you recognised your failings as did your boss. You took the honest route and went another direction. Unfortunately Willian doesn’t have the same evaluation system and can take the Ozil route and because he has a long contract which you probably didn’t.


But your boss was forced to keep you in that you because you’d “earned your contract”, right?


I don’t agree, but I understand why MA is saying it. Willian certainly shouldn’t receive any abuse (as other players have on various social media platforms) but he should be accountable for the one overriding thing that matters – it’s not his attitude, not whether he’s a “nice” person (something that’s come up in posts about other players) – it’s his performance on the pitch, over the 90 minutes. That’s what he’s being extremely well paid for and nothing else to be blunt. Willian’s performance overall, and it’s always overall that matters, hasn’t been good enough. We’re not talking here… Read more »

Philip Visser

This begs the question – why is he given playtime when it’s obvious to everyone – and most definitely Arteta and coaching staff – that he’s not performing on the pitch? Justifying he’s inclusion with a bs argument that he’s training well, and has a professional attitude on- and off the pitch, smacks of making excuses. It raises the spectre if he’s given time for non-football reasons as for sure I can’t see a single football or even a team reason why he’s given playtime ahead of younger players that contribute more on the pitch. Buggering off to Dubai on… Read more »


Well, others have said that the management team have too much prestige and money (wages) invested to keep him bench-warming. I don’t know how true that is (given the Ozil “situation” that involved much more money doing just that). There may be all sorts of reasons that we’re not privy to, I guess. The signing was either going to be a great success or a big failure, given the age of the player and the reported terms he was signed on. So far, it’s the latter but who knows – stranger things have happened and it’s a funny old game…


Willian needs to earn the ‘support’. As many have said above, my heart sinks when he’s on or comes onto the pitch at the expense of the youngsters. I get the need for experienced pro’s to balance out the youth but he also needs to look arsed….


He gets our support to the tune of a couple of hundred of thousands of pounds a week…in return we (the fanbase but especially the club) expect a certain level of contribution. I had hoped the mollycoddling of players as Arsenal had ended with Arteta, even gone too far in the other direction in some instances. Willian needs to feel the heat, and if he can’t rise to the occasion, be professional enough to admit that he can’t play at this level any more and book a ticket to Miami.


Yes, I agree with that. As I have said in other posts at the bottom line, players are paid (very well indeed) to play – not to have a good attitude, or be a “nice” person, or kind to stray animals, or whatever. All that is a welcome extra but not the important thing. It’s what happens on the pitch over the course of the game. Saying, as other Gooners have posted about other players who have recently left, “he wasn’t up to it, but he tried his best” is not a valid reason for refusing to be critical. All… Read more »


Did he actually call him Willy??!! Haha that tells it all!

Bai Blagoi

$h1t, this means he is starting tonight :(((


“We’ve spent so much on this project – we can’t waste it so we must continue” is such a common fallacy. What’s past is past and cannot be changed; only the future matters. This applies just as much to a footballer as it does to HS2.


So you’re advocating buying out his contract? If most reports are correct, Willian has a three year contract at £7 million a year running from August 2020. That means it would cost us around £14 million if he went in the summer (there are sometimes discounts made against the total so it may be a little less, but it’s that general area). That said, he’s under no obligation to go as far as I can see, and he’s got no sell-on value. Given our poor financial position, and the need to use any available money for new signings in the… Read more »


Of course the big mistake was giving him the contract in the first place, but from a purely financial perspective giving him all the money now is only slightly worse than paying the same amount to him over three years. And if we can negotiate that he take a slight hit when terminating his contract. Woth considering (though he would never agree). What speaks against this solution is the vaning hope that he will improve.

Bai Blagoi

Like with the Özil case, why so many people are talking about paying him the full amount of his remaining contract? What do we gain if we let him go earlier AND pay him in full?


A roster spot and we get rid of a player who isn’t Premier League level.


“player deserves to be protected because of his professional attitude on and off the pitch.”

Even flying to Dubai during pandemic??


The 3yr contract was a really strange decision, that someone’s head should be on the chopping block for…

Feel a bit sorry for him though, he looks like a defeated man

Hopefully something drops for him soon, and he can gain some confidence

Looking at his body language, and his lack of dynamism and energy, there’s some really worrying signs, so I wouldn’t bet on it, hope I’m wrong….

Philip Visser

It should be remembered that Arteta is not only defending William. He’s defending himself for sanctioning Willian contract and team selection, he’s defending Edu who made the deal and he’s defending the management who agreed to the contract. Don’t expect honest answers when the whole of the hierarchy has to be defended from what everyone can see was a poor and costly decision. How trying to justify playing him with team dynamics and spirit is anyone’s guess


100% this. Willian is too big to fail.

Public Elneny

Good point

But he should realise how foolish this makes him look. The whole world knows he and Edu made a mistake by signing Willian. But by doubling down on the signing (by continuing to select him), it makes it look like he himself doesn’t realise that and is therefore likely to repeat it

He should just own the error (again with actions rather than words) – literally every manager/DOF makes mistakes. Him and Edu can at least use their inexperience as an excuse at this point in their careers


Spot on 👍

Billy bob

He needs to be supported to the exit door judging by his performances lol I think without that support he might find it difficult to locate the exit (even with a glowing sign above the door). Sorry but this Will-i-aint is the worst signing we’ve made in years – I appreciate I am saying this with the benefit of hindsight – so it is time to say “okay this isn’t working” and move on (obviously at the end of the season).

Public Elneny

As I see it, we have signed 5 older (27+) players in the past decade or so who were unqualified successes – Arteta, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Monreal and Aubameyang What they have in common is they were signed in their late 20s, rather than their 30s, so each was expected to have 2-5 years of top level football left in their legs, instead of being on borrowed time already. But they were also, up to the point we signed them, key players for mid-table/Europa level teams, rather than interchangeable cogs for CL/title challenging teams. (Auba is arguable but Dortmund were in… Read more »


A very interesting and impressive analysis.

Public Elneny

Why thank you 🙂

Cranky Colin

You see , because on the pitch, he has been so poor, including in the critical area of workrate, this issue is now toxic. Whatever about Nelson, who I would prefer was playing instead of Agent Willian ( I call him that because he is almost like a spy in the camp for Chelski at this stage), I really think if workrate is key, ( consider the Ozil narrative on that….. it basically saw him out of the club), then Pepe and Martinelli are working flat out for 90 or whatever time they get on the pitch. Agent Willian has… Read more »


If Willian is giving all that is demanded in training sessions and off-the-pitch activities, the obvious follow-up question would seem to be are whether Gabby and Reiss are failing to give what is demanded. Otherwise, don’t they merit just as much protection, support, and chances as Willian is getting?

Or is that too freaking obvious?


What a nice young man, Arteta, looking after the elderly like this.

But seriously, what Willian deserves is for his contract to be voided.

The most consistently godawful Arsenal player I have ever seen – if only because previous Arsenal managers would know not to keep playing a player this bad.

Merlin’s Panini

I get he needs to defend his players while they’re still with us otherwise it’s obvious they are surplus to requirements, but to then keep playing them when they are playing like shit and there are three other players who could play instead is just stupid. I like a lot of what Arteta is doing recently, apart from this. You can’t say you pick the team on merit then keep playing someone who contributes nothing.


So management shelved Ozil for not being in form, not contributing, etc. (supposedly) but this guy keeps getting selected time and time again, while he underperforms, looks slow, etc…? They’re going to lose the vital youth players the team needs for the future as they cater to old has-beens that are clearly past it. That’s great he has a professional attitude. Get him off the pitch and put him in some kind of mentorship/coaching role. MA needs to open his friggin’ eyes.


Mentoring what? How to get an agent who will con a three year contract on massive wages for you? How to keep playing when you amble about in the wrong place, pass backwards and slow everything down so your own team mates don’t want to pass to you? If we need a mentor/coach next season it should be Santi and not Willian or David how to have a brain fart Luiz.

Kanu Believe It

Perhaps ‘Willy’ just needs a blue pill to perk up a bit.


He has done jack shit to earn it.


Love how important meritocracy suddenly is to the fans when it comes to Willian. But they then suggest he play Reiss Nelson instead….who has managed to contribute even less. Classic.


I don’t care what he says as long as the club is being lead into the right direction through his acts and decisions.
Saying is one thing and doing is another


Well, I just can’t say I agree at all.


The only thing I question re: Willian is what Arteta sees in him that we don’t. The eye test shows an aging player who appears disinterested far too often on the pitch. Little to no results from his play. I would bet the house that metrics would support that evaluation. Often a coach/manager will say that we don’t see him in training, that he is a good soldier and the team loves him. That may be the case here, as it is with Luiz. But on the pitch it’s clear he offers little of what Saka, ESR, Gabe, Odegaard or… Read more »

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