In the past week, Chelsea has been involved in two HUGE games, one against Barcelona and the other against Manchester United. In both those games, it wasn’t the Madrid-bound Eden Hazard who shone the brightest; it was the forgotten man, Willian. The Brazilian showcased a vein of form that we’ve not seen from him in two seasons, form the Blues have missed this season.
As of today, Chelsea sit two points off 4th place, with Champions League qualification on the line. It’s Tottenham who currently sit in that coveted 4th position and the form they’re showcasing suggests it’ll take close to 9/10 wins for the Blues to even dream of finishing in the top 4. If they’re to achieve such a feat, they’ll need their best players on top form.
Here’s why Willian will be pivotal to Chelsea’s success going into the final stages of the season.
Chelsea need Willian now more than ever as the Premier League have looked a shell of themselves from last season. Antonio Conte’s men only lost 5 league games last campaign, this season they’ve already lost 7 times with 10 games still to go.
Despite spending close to £230million this campaign, Chelsea is a staggering 19 points off the top of the table. Even with the purchases of; Álvaro Morata, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud, Chelsea have only scored 50 goals in 28 games, the worst record out of the top 6 teams.
As an attacking unit, Chelsea’s forwards have all failed to deliver this season. It’s only Eden Hazard who can hold his head up high with his contributions so far. The Belgian has scored 11 goals in 24 league appearances, while Morata has scored 10 alongside Pedro with an abysmal 4.
Meanwhile, Willian has scored a respectable 5 goals while providing 6 assists. The 29-year-old has done this in 27 appearances, with only 14 starts. It’s a wonder as to why Antonio Conte has continuously benched the Brazilian, considering he’s their most productive asset to date. From Willian’s point of view, he will also want more starts as the World Cup draws nearer.
If Morata can’t produce a strike rate worthy of his sizeable price tag, Chelsea is going to need their wide forwards to continue to subsidise.
From the right wing, Willian has proved that he can deliver in the big games. That will provide hope for Chelsea fans as the Blues have several big games left to play this season. The Blues still have to play:
- Man City (A)
- Barcelona (A)
- Tottenham (H)
- Liverpool (H)
In José Mourinho’s final season at Chelsea, it was Willian who was Chelsea’s best player. He delivered when Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fàbregas couldn’t. Now, Antonio Conte is going to need the 29-year-old to show such influence again and save his dwindling job security. The truth is, last season the Blues had Diego Costa in their arsenal, and Álvaro Morata hasn’t been able to fill those shoes. Morata will need at least one more season to acclimatise to the Premier League, in the meantime, Willian will share the burden with Eden Hazard, again.