With a wealth of attacking talent at disposal already, one would think Chelsea are insane to pop up out of nowhere for another playmaker and steal the march on him from their arch rivals. Some would even come up with absurdly, mythical claims such as Chelsea didn’t really ‘need’ Willian, and that the only reason they went after him is because they wanted to prevent Andre Villas-Boas from constructing a squad to challenge them in the Premier League this season. Sounds convincing; for Mr. Levy anyway. However, more stable people would simply suggest this signing makes no sense, whatsoever, and that it’s a sheer waste of money if anything. When all is said and done, it’d be appropriate to reflect on what Willian actually brings to the team, rather than futilely counting the numbers available in that position.
Willian offers something different to what we already have at Chelsea. He has played in the hole and as a CF, but where he really spent most of the time of his career is on the flanks. He is not your traditional playmaker. While he likes to roam on the pitch and move into a central position in a free-role, he tends to spend more time drifting into wide areas and stretching the opposition’s defence. Besides, his hold-up play is quite remarkable, and he does an incredible job in bringing others into play. He is comfortable operating in tight spaces, which is something very crucial to have, especially when you are up against an aggressive team that will just constantly shrug your players off the ball.
His movement off the ball is something to cherish, as he is always looking to run in behind the defenders when he doesn’t have the ball, providing an effective outlet to his team-mates around with his explosive pace. Furthermore, he adds more flair to the team with his direct running and dribbling. He also likes to take on defenders and he is usually someone who makes things happen. The way he drifts inside is reminiscent of Eden Hazard – Hold the ball in wide areas, mesmerise your opponent with some tekkers, and cut inside hugging the by-line. This usually ends up creating a genuine goal-scoring chance due to the defence being stretched out, and if the player manages to cross the ball with precision, it gets to someone on a plate to tap it in, or even knocks off the opposition’s defenders due to the box being overloaded with numbers, consequently ending up in the back of the net.
Moreover, Willian can also be a huge asset on the break with his blistering pace that leaves defenders chasing shadows. Keeping all that aside, one of the main reasons Jose Mourinho went for him is because of his tactical side of the game. He is tactically astute, a player who gives it all for the team. Also, he is a massive asset for a team that wants to pressurize the opponent and win the ball high up the pitch. He learnt this trait under his former coach Mircea Lucescu when he was at Shakhtar. Willian also has good awareness as to how to control spaces and cut the passing lanes. He does a rather incredible job at defending from the front, and doesn’t let his man breathe with his constant chasing and closing down. His defensive work is admirable, and his discipline could make a huge difference in the Champions League.
Conclusively, it’s never bad to have someone who loves the club. He has admitted being a Chelsea fan for a long time, and that he only wanted to move to Chelsea, so his passion for the shirt and his commitment to the team would be unquestionable under normal circumstances. Also, how can you possibly not like someone who just took a cheeky jibe at Tottenham?
“I always wanted to go to Chelsea. Chelsea presented an offer and it was always my dream to go there. Chelsea is a better club than Tottenham in every aspect.”
On a more serious note, Willian offers something different to what we already have at Chelsea. He is a smart signing that’d not only add quality depth to the squad, but also provide a different kind of skill set along with versatility that may come handy against certain oppositions.
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