Arteta: Willian is rebuilding himself


Mikel Arteta says Willian is starting to show what he can do for Arsenal after impressing in training in recent weeks.

The Brazilian was one of a number of impressive performers at the King Power on Sunday as the Gunners came from behind to seal a 3-1 win against Leicester.

The midfielder took charge of a free-kick that found David Luiz to level and he also played a part in a fast-flowing move that ended with Pepe tapping home seven minutes after the break.

Having come off the bench to register an assist against Benfica on Thursday, it’s been a positive few days for the 32-year-old who has had his fair share of critics since signing from Chelsea in the summer.

“He was really good,” Arteta told his post-game press conference.

“We’ve seen that in training the last few weeks. He’s rebuilding himself and he’s not accepted the situation. I think he was the player who changed the game against Benfica in the last few moments when he came on, and today I think he was terrific.

“The same with the other senior players. Laca, I think the way he played, Nico grew in the game and had a big impact as well. Granit as well. A player who has played that many minutes, to play with the heart and the passion he showed in every action, I think it’s a great example for the rest of the players.”

In his post-game interview with BT Sport, Alex Lacazette, who scored from the penalty spot, spoke of the importance of the senior players taking the lead more often. Mikel Arteta agreed with the Frenchman in his own interview with the broadcaster and went on to reaffirm the point by further praising Granit Xhaka and David Luiz.
“If you have to put an example on that pitch about character and about going for every single goal with that determination, then probably it’s him [Xhaka],” he said.
“He’s played more minutes than anybody else but he keeps going, even when he is so tired. He tries to help the team in the right way and the same like with David [Luiz].
“For someone like him, at his age, to play again quickly after the game we had to play against Benfica, it was tough. But they had the real attitude that they wanted to be involved, they wanted to play and that’s how they approach every game.”
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Professor Bubblepants

Good for him. Let’s hope he continues this good form.


One swallow doesn’t make a summer


It does make a blowjob though.


OK, right you are, coat please…


Willian doesn’t deserve support, he’s an overpaid senior player from a rival club that is draining club resources and taking away youth playing time.


Yeah but somehow he is stuck with us for the next 2 1/2 years…


Actually we don’t need your ‘support’


Calm down, Trig.


This is one of those “what would Saka say” moments.

Here goes…

You’re entitled to your opinion sir, but I could disagree more vociferously.

How was that?


All players are overpaid, maybe more than a few of us commenting here as well. But this guy wears our colors and finally performs in them, as an overpaid human to another – cheers and let it long continue!

Reality check

Like your honesty man, it will keep you humble.


Willian is an Arsenal player. He deserves our support. Can we criticise him? Yes we can. But he deserves our support and if he plays well we should respect that as well. Or maybe I’m not at an Arsenal supporters’ platform?


That’s too harsh bruv. Chill Winston.



You really should stop this textually transmitted opinion.


rebuilding himself from what?
His comments on Xhaka and Luiz worry me. If we start next season with those 2 as part of the spine of our team we are going no where.


For me Xhaka has redeemed himself. He almost did not set a foot wrong after that stupid red card against burnley. I agree that we should/could upgrade on him. However, I would be happy to keep him for next year.

The Beast

Agreed. There are obvs better players in his position out there but none that play for arsenal atm. It’s also hard to question his dedication to the team, which goes some way in making up for lack of (insert preferred criticism).


Granite is so improved since Partey arrival and the Emergence of ESR he has shown that there is a lot of great stuff in his register and that he can pass forward ,rather decisively and fast as well.
I see no reason parting with him when there is so much work to do , however we need to bring in at least 1 more of starting quality to our midfield.


Imagine…managers like Wenger and Arteta know more than our high maint fans.


I think his contract runs out in 2022 if I’m right. This means to have him around next season would mean to either extend his contract or let him leave for free the next summer. Therefore I’m not sure if I’d be happy to have him around next season. But yes, he’s playing quite well the last weeks/ months. But similarly to Laca, I’d sell him in the summer to fund the rebuild.


It’s 2023, so 2 seasons after this one…..the problem though with saying we should sell players is an assumption that we will find someone willing to buy them. Like we have found with others over the last few years, that is not a given.

Timorous Me

Yeah, and we can’t overlook the financial problem that will remain at so many clubs through this summer and into next season. So the problem with selling Xhaka is that while I’m sure you could do it, are you going to get reasonable value for him? And if not, could you instead keep him another year while also exploring options for an upgrade or at least better depth?


The players we’ve tried to sell were mostly players that haven’t played for ages because they’ve been pretty horrible when the played. The case with Xhaka is different. He’s played more minutes over the last 3/4 seasons than anyone else. Think there’d be loads of clubs interested, especially as he’s earning reasonable wages.


We just bought Thomas, and his first season has been a total ‘mare due to injuries. I am in no way interested in getting rid of the most reliable midfielder in our squad, regardless of druthers. The man is a total stalwart. Imagine this squad with a 1-1 replacement for Xhaka, and the guy takes 1/3 of the season to get up to speed and find chemistry and Thomas continues to have issues. It’s not far-fetched. This is the Arsenal.What does that midfield look like? Not so good. Even if we get another midfielder in I’d reduce elsewhere. We have… Read more »


I’m with you Mpls.

This narrative that Xhaka’s suddenly become good since his red card is wide of the mark. He’s been consistently one of our 2 or 3 best performers since Wenger left.

An error against Brighton cost us champs league football and a meltdown moment v Palace and we wanted his head on a spike.

He’s not the most gifted midfielder on the planet but those who’ve been banging on for years about our team lacking ‘leadership’, ‘courage’ or ‘backbone’ obviously haven’t been watching Xhaka.


It’s not about moving players on in general. It’s about the length of their contracts. If we extend his contract this would mean to increase his wages and that – combined with hinnehmen getting older – would make it nearly impossible to move him on in the future. Would mean we’d have another player that would earn significant wages in his 30‘s and would probably leave for nothing one day. That’s just horrible squad management. Regardless the fact that he never seems to get injured.


From a rational standpoint we should not think of replacing him. Ie if he maintains recent performance standards + he is well integrated in the team, and always a risk when trying to integrate someone new. The reason you still suggest this is probably emotional, if so one that I can understand. If Xhaka can’t find the connection with fans, he can’t stay regardless of performance lvls, he is not the only proud human in the universe.


48 thumbs down.

The truth clearly hurts…..


Thumbs down don’t equal the truth, just people disagreeing with the inane comment and constant whining from the same person. It’s a given AFC fans would like to strengthen the squad in both positions, if possible.

Also a fact no manager in an interview is going to say ‘I have shit players’ (well if you or cheese-lover ever become managers, possibly).

MA praising players the way he did, does not imply he doesn’t want to strengthen the squad.

What hurts are your repetitive and tedious posts.

Public Elneny

I don’t think it’s inane We know all about Xhaka and Luiz as footballers by now: They go on a poor run of games, they cost the team points and fans get on their back – they’re taken out for a bit. They respond impressively and go on a good run of games – fans say they’re redeemed and are happy for them to keep their position next season. Repeat ad nauseum With them in our spine, that pattern gets you Europa League football at best. I don’t wish either ill but let’s be honest, neither will give us a… Read more »


Top post. Spot on. 👍


It is inane when the vast majority of fans ‘know all about Xhaka and Luiz as footballers by now’. I don’t think you’re correct that fans are happy for them to keep their position next year. You’re conflating thumbs up on comments that are positive about this article (or positive comments after a good game), and whether fans want an improved squad next season. The two are not mutually exclusive. When the same commenters make the same few points, ad nauseum – especially after good performances by both – that is the very definition of ‘inane’. When there is fair… Read more »


Oh good.

I’ll keep posting then…


PS. You’re damn right the thumbs down on here don’t equal the truth – especially when compared to the general consensus of the Emirates faithful.


We might not have the world largest genuine fan base, but I am pretty sure we exceed the number of 1.


Not in Q’s head, he has the backing of what he considers ‘real’ fans, or fans reacting to a situation over a year ago.

The loss of Ozil has messed with his grasp on reality, poor guy.

I am sure the Emirates faithful are keen to watch as his recovery plays out on here. I predict at least another 21 months of crying before he turns the corner and he comes to terms. Lets all hope he posts way more on here, might heal his broken heart and mind in a shorter period.


My grasp of reality is the league table. This club is in the bottom half of it. Some people, like you, are content with Arteta and mediocrity. Others, like myself, want to see this club, that has Auba, Laca, Partey, Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Saka, ESR and Martinelli back challenging where they deserve to be and should be – in the top six at the very least. Fuck all to do with a player who has long been sold and has played less than one second of this entire season. If anything breaks my heart, it is watching the club… Read more »


At the time of writing, we’re actually 10th and therefore in the top half of the table – just.

My points in my previous post stand though. We should be in the top six at least.


There was more than one person booing Xhaka when he tore of his shirt, the Captain’s armband and told his own supporters to Fuck Off.

And to date, still no apology from him.

Those are the facts.

I’ll leave you to your own thoughts and whatever rose tinted candy floss is spinning in your head.


The emirates faithful sends you their appreciation for being left to think their own thoughts. I have nothing against you Q, the day both of us agree is when our club is truly back on track. look forward to switch from spats to Cheers


Why don’t you admit you’re a Spurs troll. No true Arsenal supporter could be constantly be so anti Arsenal


Why don’t you admit that you’re someone who has to resort to personal slander because you can’t hack another person’s opinion of how this club is currently being managed.


sometimes i doubt your commitment to sparkle motion


Xhaka is one of our key players, full stop. The reason He is not fully recognized as one is due to his way of distanciating himself from fans and club. I would sit eye to eye with him against abusers anytime, but I would also tell him it’s about time to show respect for our proud fan base and history, committing selectively to team and manager only is a deliberate stance by Xhaka, until he doesn’t recognize my heart for the club and team it is impossible to fully recognize his.


Everyone knows hes a key player. The problem is hes a key player in a team which has consistently failed to make the top 4 in every season since he arrived. I happen to think we would do better if we made better players key players in the team the same goes for luiz.

Baichung Bhutia

I think we will sell Elneny and not buy Ceballos. We might sell Guendouzi and Torreira as well. So I don’t think we will be selling Xhaka as well. We probably have to buy two midfielders in the summer along with a striker and a fullback.

santi's thigh grab

This. There are players worse than Xhaka that we need to move on before him, those four BB mentioned. Xhaka will eventually go but he will play for us next year.


About time they stepped up.

Let’s hope that they continue and we get a successful end to the season, like last time.


The Ceballos Syndrome.

Play a blinder in the last few games, having hitherto stunk the fucking place out all season.


Except he has been excellent since Arteta arrived.


Of course he has.

His excellent performances and non stop assists have seen us safely into the top four again….oh, wait…..


Ceballos has neither been excellent since Arteta’s arrival nor deserving of syndrome-naming status.

He is a player who has mostly been average, occasionally woeful, and sometimes sublime.

I would say his performances mirror those of the team overall.


A lot lot better from Willian and not before time and if he can continue that form for the rest of this season and take it into next season then that’ll be great, but let’s see if he can be as effective against says Sp*rs as he was against a knackered Leicester.


The six million dollar man, that’s his salary.


Yeah, he used to run in slow motion as well….

Obama Young

We have the technology, we can rebuild him!


Some people are definitely too young for this!


The Colney Crèche has got nothing on this page…..

santi's thigh grab

Sorry for your pain.


3 years was insane, but what’s done is done

He’s an experienced PL player, who’s won plenty of trophies

I’ve felt sorry for him, he’s looked completely devoid of confidence, hopefully he can kick on from here, because we need to extract some type of value out of this investment


As opposed to the player extracting the urine out of this club.

“I wish I’d never left Chelsea.”



You never felt sorry for ‘ Özil ‘


Very happy for Willian for producing today but I hope now Arteta doesn’t see this as an excuse to literally start him every game for the rest of the season.


He will play him a lot more now. Been absolute shite for months and still got game time.Arteta will continue to justify the 3 Yr contract given to him no matter how bad he gets.
2 decent games doesn’t mean redemption in my books. One of worst pound for pound signings I’ve ever seen at Arsenal



The Beast

Andre Santos would like a word


Unless, of course, he scores the winning goal at the Europa League final.


Obviously . A hero with a statue in the making 🙂


Willian has been a bad player for a lot less time than he has been a good to very good player.

Don’t you think the truth might be this could be the anomaly and he may return to being a good player?

I don’t know either. But I’m going to just enjoy his good form for as long as he wears the holy shirt, and hope it continues rather than believing he’ll return to shite so my preconceived convictions can be proven right.


Completely agree, I want him to succeed, his success becomes the teams , my biggest problem is that no matter how bad he’s been he continues to get game time over some other younger players that could be our future and offer more.
I believe that’s because Arteta has to try and justify the fact that he has a 3 Yr contract on such big money.
Worth upsetting martinelli for? …I don’t think he’s worth that gamble when offering so little so often.

santi's thigh grab

Martinelli and Willian don’t play the same position. Martinelli will get more time next season once he’s fully recovered and Laca has moved on. Martinelli is going to play central striker relieving Auba when he needs a rest, not winger.


Now what on earth makes you say that………🙄

Bleeding gums murphy

He will.


Well perhaps it’s what he needs, here’s hoping he HAS turned a corner and will produce more often


Id be happy if he could take a corner that beats the 1st man.

Hank Scorpio

You know it will be don’t you. A bigger concern though is what this means for Martinelli. The signs there are worrying.


Think that’ll be fine come next season. He sure as hell wont be sold over the summer. I think we’ll sell Laca and Martinelli will take his place.


It’s 37 points. Atleast we are not getting relegated

Cranky Colin

It’s one game Mikel, one game.
He played very well and gave loads.
Right at the end he pulled out of a challenge…. suiting himself and not the team.
So, let’s have a run of proper committed performances and then you can spout on about him.


Well said.


Hey Colin, I get you’re cranky, but what would you expect arteta to say “yeah, he’s been shite, today was probably just a fluke”. Of course not, Willian is quite clearly a confidence player, and while he’s not my cup of tea, if we can get a few good performances from him and give some of our genuine stars a chance to take a breather without having to come on and rescue us with 20 minutes to go, that’ll be an absolute result.

Kevin Albone

It may be that Willian has been poor so far but he remains a good player when on form. He has plenty to offer if he can get himself motivated and we might yet see something from him this season and next.

Hulahoops Baptista

I have been critical of William and remain unconvinced. But he played well today, so fair play to him.


We played well, as well as can be expected. Happy for Willian. Great away win. All that. However, truth be told, Willian is a stopgap and can’t be counted on moving forward, and, tbh, Leicester looked a relegation side today as they did midweek. As with any of our wins, the next match tells the tale.


At the point where he dribbled past 3 players and my mouth literally dropped open in shock, it reminded me of the Chelsea Willian we all thought we were getting but thought was gone forever.



Great execution


OMG Here we go…..

One reasonable performance and Arteta’s prophesies the second coming of Bergkamp.

Never let it be said this guy doesn’t have his favourites. Poor man management….


‘One reasonable performance and Arteta’s prophesies the second coming of Bergkamp.’

For someone who bangs on about ‘the truth’ so much it’s a real shame you appear to have no idea what it means. Qwueless.


Amazing how Q can show how upset he is about Ozil leaving without mentioning Ozil.

It looks like as long as MA is at the club or we have any underperforming players, this guy is not letting go of that particular bone.

I was gonna say ‘what a Qwunt’, but Qwueless is the nicer way to go!


Funny how personal attacks are prohibiting on this site, except when it’s time to take the piss out of Qwaliteee.

Then it’s open season.



Obama Young

He’s set up 3 goals in his last 100 minutes of play.
Today there was one time when he even picked up the ball in our end and drove forward at speed, something I don’t remember him ever doing this season.
This is what we need from him, hopefully it continues.


Probably a disservice to Tierney on Thursdays to suggest Willian “set it up”. He passed the ball to him, there was a hell of a lot left to do.


Yet you must admit Tierney can’t do a damn thing there without the ball in a good position.


I also want to mention that I love what I’m seeing from Pepe lately. He’s been terrific. Left or right winger, he has been grand!


Pepe. Now there’s someone who deserves the platitudes. 👍


It was never a mistake that Xhaka was elected Captain by his colleague. To us fans, he may no longer be wearing the armband. But to the players, he’s still their true captain.

Nostalgic Gooner

The saying goes “even a broken clock is right twice a day”. I hope Fulham and Leicester are not an aberration as we need Willian to succeed with all the financial investment, chances and opportunity cost (of not playing the likes of Martinelli, Pepe, Nelson etc.,). The manager desperately wants him to work out. We all do. So I’m hoping we get more than a good 2 games a season.


About time
He had a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg for too long


Good showing today. And to be fair to him , he is playing in a less preferred left sided role. BUT the collective mindset was on today and we defended from high up as a unit. Also when moving forward against their press, we played quick simple interchanges and switched flanks or played forward behind them quicker. In many parts this is due to a number of players being more responsible on the ball with possession certainly Xhaka and Laca but also Cedric, Elneny and Pepe today (Odegaard coming on also added good retention) But Willian like Pepe tight with… Read more »


Well played sure. But Arteta saying “he was the man who made a difference” on Thursday he’s crazy. A 5 yard pass to tierney who then scored a blinder is really stretching the imagination.


Like an elastic band to the moon.


Fat words to justify his selection. If you go to sqwaka and compare him with ESR or Pepe the only category he is top is on the played minutes.

If successful means he is a starter of the team that is 11th then we have to rebuild the word successful.


Two reasonable games in seven fucking months – and the guy publicly states that he would rather still be at Chelsea – yet it’s jelly and ice cream all round on here. Incredible.


Willian is an Arsenal player, our club will be much more successful if our players are successful. And in any case, I prefer supporting a manager showing the ability and desire our club desperately requires to turn the tide, together with the players he sees key to that happening. Fans that prefer to go and stay negative, even after good performances… It’s your choice to make but it sure doesn’t make sense to me.


I have this theory that Odegaard, bringing similar qualities as Willian has somehow with showing they blend well with Our game plan, got Willians spark to lite. Highly speculative but the timing supports it, and having experienced the same at a much more modest lvl I don’t think it’s far fetched.


What does ‘rebuild himself’ exactly mean? Does that imply he’s been carrying injury for sometime? Or does it mean he’s learning to play differently because of his age? If so, why does he appear to be running around MORE?


Oh shit. We’re keeping Luiz and starting Willian aren’t we?

Hank Scorpio

Of course we are


It was a lovely free kick. Looking at a couple of earlier free kicks from the same side, Pepe took them all, with Willian standing there. So when Pepe ran past the ball instead of crossing the free kick, the whole Leicester defence went to defend a ball that hadn’t arrived, and of course Willian’s cross was spot on! But that’s training ground stuff, and the earlier free kicks contributed.


What a manager, utilising tactics to get results and bigging up his players confidence because of it




Wonder why some players don’t get numerous chances to rebuild themselves…


2 good games out of 20 in the Premier league – let’s hope this is a turning point for him because there’s no way Arteta is putting Martinelli or Nelson ahead of him. Even if he’s good for the rest of the season I think its the wrong long-term decision but at least it will be more tolerable to watch. On a personal level I’m really pleased for him and I don’t agree for a moment that he hasn’t been trying his best and I don’t think the pressure has helped at all.


The only thing I ask of William and any other player is that they leave it all on the field. I can cheer for anyone that will do that.