'Aston Villa's best player on Saturday': Tony Cascarino tears into 'awful' Arsenal man

Sam Preston February 8, 2021
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Tony Cascarino has taken aim at Willian’s performance as a substitute in Arsenal’s 1-0 loss at Aston Villa on Saturday.

In the Times, Cascarino joked that Willian when Villa’s best player after being introduced on 74 minutes.

The Brazilian came on for Thomas Partey, which is in theory an attacking change but it didn’t help Arsenal get back into the game.

And Cascarino laid into Willian in his weekly column as the Gunners lost back to back league games.

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“Willian was Aston Villa’s best player after he came for Arsenal on Saturday,” said Cascarino.

“There are good signs for Mikel Arteta but I cannot ever remember a club where the manager has had to rely so much on the younger players, and has been so poorly served by the senior professionals.

“Willian has been awful, Granit Xhaka dips in and out of form, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has looked lost at times lately. Yet youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe deliver every week.”

There’s no doubt that Arsenal’s youngsters are the biggest cause for optimism at the club right now, but they need help.

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Senior players like Willian and Aubameyang should be capable of greater consistency than they are currently producing.

Willian has been a desperately disappointing signing; brought in to offer an immediate boost to the frontline and now toiling in his substitute appearances.

In the first part of the season, Mikel Arteta was using the Europa League to blood his young players.

Now, as European football returns, it’s likely that his older heads such as Willian will mainly be seen on Thursday nights to allow his young guns time to recover between weekends.