The 2015/16 campaign was the worst season Chelsea have ever had under the Roman Abramovich regime.
Diego Costa was firing blanks upon returning overweight from the season break, the midfield duo of Matic and Fabregas both chose to leave their brilliant form behind them, while then PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, was a complete shadow of himself.
A 10th place finish was the best the team could muster at the end of a disappointing term. But through all those bad times, Brazil international Willian stood out as the only good and positive thing about Chelsea.
Chelsea’s number 22 became a vital set-piece specialist, scoring numerous free-kicks, as well as creating assists and numerous goal-scoring chances in the majority of the Blues’ games.
As the new season unfolds and with a new Chelsea team set to emerge with it, what influence the 27-year-old will have on the team after his splendid performances is of large interest.
A new coach, a new playing style, and some new players; many hope Willian will again turn up to the party to thrive in a more successful Chelsea team this time around.
Having further committed himself to the Blues until 2020, the player remains hungry to offer his quality services to Chelsea’s pursuit of glory.
After having to do the majority of the work last season, fatigue appeared to set in towards the end of the year, particularly because the team had nothing left to play for. However, next season presents another chance to play for something. With Kante’s addition and Hazard’s return to form, of we are set to experience the best of Willian all through the 2016/2017 season, then Chelsea will be right up there come May 2017.
In 35 league appearances last season, averaging 1.7 shots per game, the former Corinthians forward netted on five occasions and made six assists. His 82.5% pass success ratio and 3 Man of the Match awards contributed to his emergence as the club’s best player of the season.
The area to work on for Willian will be to find the net more regularly, and Chelsea will hope their man may finally hit double figures in the league under new coach Antonio Conte. How exactly the Italian will deploy the versatile forwards he has at his disposal remains unknown.
3-5-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 or 4-2-4, whichever formation the Italian master tactician eventually employs, Willian is sure to start on the right wing or in a right attacking midfield area.
By enjoying the new-found protective covering of Kante and Matic, the Brazilian will be able to make dashing runs down the flank and across the pitch to carve out defence-splitting passes and shots at goal far more often.
Last season proved that Conte has got one of the most lethal weapons in the Premier League at his disposal, and if Willian is used correctly, Chelsea may just be in for a fantastic season.