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3 key passes: Arsenal man created more chances than all his teammates yesterday

Nathaniel Kay March 1, 2021
Willian
Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Willian certainly made his mark in an Arsenal jersey yesterday during the Gunners’ 3-1 Premier League win at Leicester City.

That’s one statement that hasn’t been heard often during the Brazilian’s short stint in north London.

But it was a statement Willian fully deserved after his dazzling display against the Foxes.

Assist king

Although the Brazilian failed to light up the scoreboartd, Willian shone in many other areas that will have been a huge boost to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

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One area in particular, his set piece delivery that was the hallmark of his career across town at Chelsea, was back on display.

After falling behind early on, the Gunners drew level thanks to a terrific David Luiz header conjured by an equally delicious Willian cross.

It was also the Brazilian’s delicate touch into the path of Nicolas Pepe that finished off a flowing move to secure Arsenal’s third of the afternoon.

David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Although Willian wasn’t officially credited with the assist, his contribution to the goal can’t be questioned.

Neither could his overall performance, which had everything Arsenal fans would have been dreaming of when the club signed the flying free agent.

Wonderful Willian

Willian registered three key passes, according to WhoScored.com, just one fewer than all his teammates combined.

The Brazilian also managed a game-high 94.4% passing accuracy, an impressive figure considering he lasted the full 90 minutes.

Of the nine crosses Willian attempted, six found their target.

Willian even showcased some of his samba skills by completing two dribbles. Only Alexandre Lacazette managed more.

Arteta’s attacking dilemma

It was a statement of intent from the 32-year-old that he can mix it with Arsenal’s young attacking talent.

Arteta has started to embed young blood in his starting XI in place of the old guard, with positive results.

Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard have all given the Gunners manager food for thought about who should make his attacking quartet.

And after Willian’s latest display, the Spaniard’s selection headache may have grown to migraine proportions.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.