In his latest column for the Fancast, Simon Phillips addresses Willian’s form.
There was a moment on Sunday in the frustrating goalless draw against Everton, when Willian should have put Alvaro Morata in for an open goal tap-in and give us the goal we so desperately needed. But he instead opted to shoot, which went wide.
That was frustrating, but something I’d fully allow an attacking player to get away with, as so often you’ll see those rustle the net. However, what I’m not accepting a player to get away with at this level, is being ‘too inconsistent’.
Those are two words I always hear practically every Chelsea fan say about Willian. Now I’d still accept that excuse if said player was 19-year old learning his trade. But Willian will be 31 years old in the summer. How long can we keep accepting the excuse that he’s just inconsistent?
I can no longer accept it. Don’t get me wrong, at times I really enjoy watching Willian, who can be devastating in attack and has put in some top performances over the years, but he’s just not doing it enough for me. I know players don’t play well every match and go through spells of low form. But it seems like from day one we have always said that Willian’s inconsistency hinders him.
I like to add balance, and in his defence, he does play better on the left. But we have Eden Hazard there, and is Willian going to be happy being back up to him? Absolutely not, if that happened, we’d probably see Willian scribbling over Maurizio Sarri’s face in photos! Besides, I’d much rather see a top prospect like Callum Hudson-Odoi backing up Hazard there at this point rather than an ageing winger.
It’s time that we did our best to match the quality of Hazard and balance out the burden on him. We rely heavily on him being the one to win us matches; it’s time we utilised the fact that opponents heavily mark him, and invest in a right winger who is close to the quality of Hazard.
I’d love to see us mirror Hazard from the other side, bring in a left-footed winger to play on the right, cutting in being a danger from the other side. Willian and Pedro on the right are far too predictable and easy to defend. I’d much rather see a Nabil Fekir or Leon Bailey type in that position.
It’s not just his inconsistency though, as I touched upon previously, I can’t ignore what Willian did on his Instagram last season, blanking out Antonio Conte’s face in a team photo, and then blaming it on his daughter. Now I am the first to criticise Conte and his downfall at this club, but for a player to publicly disrespect their manager, just because he wasn’t playing him as much – is petulant, childish and out of order.
I honestly have no idea why we weren’t progressive and ambitious this summer when we allegedly rejected a £50 million plus offer from Barcelona for Willian, a player who was blatantly unhappy at the club at the time. Then use that money to invest in a younger winger with more quality. It’s beyond me.
I do get the affection for Willian, and I understand that he works hard for the team. But for me he just doesn’t give us enough quality at a consistent level, I want more.
If we want to compete with the big teams, we need more quality and less inconsistency. We need to show ambition. I know Maurizio Sarri doesn’t like to turn to the transfer market, but I honestly think in January we need to be making a right winger a priority purchase, and respectfully thanking Willian for his service, and allowing him to now move on.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!