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Willian: More to Offer?

Before the new season is underway, Willian will be celebrating his 29th birthday. Despite being awarded our player of the year two seasons before, he was dropped in favour of Pedro for our previous title-winning season, and understandably so. While Hazard and Costa are usually targeted as our star-players, Pedro has contributed to a similar number of match winning goals as the former two, in some of our most important games of the season. With this in mind, Willian is at an age now where his value won't be getting any higher. If we were to upgrade on him, now would be the best time.

Depending on who we could sign, there is definitely benefits of replacing Willian with a younger attacking midfielder; however stats from his last three seasons suggest, that we could potentially benefit from keeping hold of him too. With there being evidence to argue, that he is gradually improving on his contributions to the team in the final third, as shown below:

14/15 Season -
Games Started: 36
Subs Bench: 13
Goals: 4 (2 League)
Assists: 5 (3 League)

15/16 Season -
Games Started: 45
Subs Bench: 4
Goals: 11 (5 League)
Assists: 7 (6 League)

16/17 -
Games Started: 21
Subs Bench: 20
Goals: 12 (8 League)
Assists: 5 (2 League)

It is worth noting, that while Willian contributed to a similar number of goals and assists two seasons ago, he has reached similar numbers in less than half the games started. Some may argue that Willian (and Fabregas) have benefited from their late inclusion on games, when minds begin to tire, and legs begin to wilt. While this seems plausible, coming off the back of a particularly productive season for Willian, his performances coming off the bench seem to differ. Unlike Fabregas, I have rarely been impressed by Willian's impact on games coming off the bench. Often his passing is careless, and he is out of synch with the rest of the team. So I've looked further into his stats for the season, to see where he got his goals and assist from.

Games Started -
Goals: 10
Assists: 4

Sub Appearances:
Goals: 2
Assists: 1

It is also worth noting that only two of Willian's goals and one of his assists came against below Premiership opposition. Stats aren't everything of course, but without trying to distort your memory of his preceding seasons, I do think his level of performance has gotten better each season. Whether he has more to offer we will have to see.

posted on 24/6/17

You'd think he would have contributed more in our aborted jose season than last season. ..(figures dont support that)..as he was the only decent player we had that year...

posted on 24/6/17

I prefer him in every single department over Pedro with the exception of his goal scoring.

posted on 24/6/17

Good article

I think he has some more to offer, and probably would have featured more this season, had he not been in a period of mourning at the start of the season.

I actually prefer him to Pedro, as he might not be as clinical, but he his certainly stronger in his build play. I think he has at least a couple more seasons with us, as he seems very committed, and is most likely going to be in his prime.

I had my doubts around him when he first came, but he has really developed into a very good player.

posted on 24/6/17

comment by SWTN - Judas is number 1 (U7916)
posted 11 minutes ago
I prefer him in every single department over Pedro with the exception of his goal scoring.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pedro has better hair

comment by Verse (U20361)

posted on 24/6/17

Then marry Pedro Sheriff.

posted on 24/6/17

Good article. Think you still have more to offer though..

soccer?lol.

posted on 25/6/17

At least we have depth in the RW area.

posted on 25/6/17

Yeah this season his improved goal scoring (with less stat padding with deflected free kicks) went under the radar, if his goal output was the same as when he first came I think he'd be getting sold right now. Just surprised he hasn't been earmarked as a RWB experiment

posted on 25/6/17

He is an amazing player we could play a midfield off.

Pedro-Hazard-Willian
-Fabregas-Kante-

Will be amazing and any striker would be lucky to lead that line. For me I can see Morata fitting nicely but to be honest I want Costa to stay.

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