Willian ‘mourned’ Chelsea exit and ‘took easy options’ at Arsenal but is now playing with purpose again, says Martin Keown
Martin Keown says Willian is playing with purpose again after ‘mourning’ his Chelsea exit.
The Brazilian winger was signed by Arsenal on a free transfer last summer but has been underwhelming in north London.
The 32-year-old has registered no goals and four assists in 19 Premier League appearances, two of those assists came in the first game of the season.
He impressed in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Leicester last weekend, picking up an assist to keep Arsenal to within an outside chance of finishing in the top four.
The Gunners are currently tenth and are eight points off West Ham in sixth, with fourth place Chelsea two points further ahead.
Arsenal legend Keown said Willian had been taking the easy options in games.
He told White and Jordan on talkSPORT: “All I want is for players to give their best. When you are in running with the ball, there is nothing more demanding. When you are trying to ask questions of your opponent, it’s testing yourself.
“It’s too easy to lay it off to someone and say ‘you do it’. That’s what Willian has been doing.
“He zips, he’s quick, it’s a flash brilliance, change of pace – let’s see it. Do it!
“I saw it the other day and I was like ‘hallelujah’. Why did we have to wait so long? I think he was in mourning a little bit for leaving Chelsea and he came out and said ‘well I didn’t realise I left Chelsea, and wanted to stay at Chelsea’.
“That’s fine, get that out, now let’s play. You are playing for Arsenal now. The first time I saw that at the weekend.”
Keown was also full of praise for Kieran Tierney, who has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season.
He added: “I just like his determination and how he picks the team up. I think it’s part of the new culture the manager is trying to breed.
“The goal he scored in the Europa League was the signal to get back into the game. He’s a real determined figure and I think they can build around him.
“We heard earlier from Carlos (Carvalhal) you don’t want to be reliant on one player.”