Having sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a whopping world record fee, Tottenham were in the market for an attacking midfielder and had agreed a deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for their Brazilian playmaker Willian; the man himself arrived in London for a medical. And then, Roman Abramovich picked his phone up and the rest, as they say, is history.
Prior to this season, all Willian had provided for Chelsea was a glorious song to chant while mocking the Spurs, but he remained incredibly frustrating in terms of producing the goods on the pitch. He was probably Chelsea’s hardest working player and did a double shift, manning the defence as well as the attack, but he lacked the flair that would get him noticed and make him a fan favorite.
However, this season, with Chelsea engulfed in a crisis, the Eden Hazards and the Pedros and the Oscars have all gone AWOL, but Willian has stepped up and proven himself to be the man the club could depend on.
At times this season under Jose Mourinho, Willian has looked the only Chelsea player trying to make things happen and that too seemingly without any support from the rest of the team. The adulation that he received from the fans for his attitude and work ethic was unparalleled. He was the hero Chelsea were in a need of and he proved to be that man. Willian delivered when the going got tough for the Blues and they desperately needed the goods from him.
Chelsea are still in the Champions League thanks to Willian and his free kick goals. Chelsea are sitting above the relegation zone because of the points won by his performances. Chelsea cannot thank Willian enough this season and from his numbers itself it is quite evident that he is having a peach of a season.
Despite being under pressure, his output has only gone up as compared to last season and he has managed to stave off competition from Pedro, the man signed to replace him on the right for Chelsea. He has not just been scoring more than last season, but has also been creating more chances for his teammates even if they aren’t necessarily converting them.
Willian has been Chelsea’s setpiece specialist this season and has already scored two goals from direct free kicks in the league with a few more in the Champions League. He also found the net in open play with a screamer against Crystal Palace and took his season’s goal tally higher than the whole of last season already.
The confidence in his play has been evident and he has been more successful in taking on players and getting past them regularly this season. And all this in tandem with his defensive duties of covering for Branislav Ivanovic, one of Chelsea’s weak links this season. His assists tally so far this season has also equaled that of the whole of last season.
Chelsea needed a talisman to show some fight this season and Willian has unexpectedly proven to be that man. He has taken his displays to such a high level that “He hates Tottenham” resonates more than “Diego! Diego!” these days at the Bridge, showing how much the fans love his attitude in the recent rough times. Well, finally he has proven that he is more than just a signing to irk a rival and create one of the best chants in recent times, after all!
Stats Courtesy – Squawka