A hot streak of form for Chelsea midfielder, Willian, has come at the right time to cover the flair vacuum left in Brazil by the injured Neymar
Chelsea midfielder, Willian, has proven his doubters wrong by stepping-up in two high-profile fixtures against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, and Manchester United in the English Premier League. And in doing so, the veteran has won back the affection of Chelsea supporters, and is seen as one of the likeliest candidates to take advantage of Neymar’s injury in order to cement himself a spot with Brazil’s national team.
Despite the criticism that never seems to leave him, Willian remains one of the most influential figures in title-winning campaigns in the past few seasons in England. Even his biggest doubters cannot deny the influence he has had on helping Chelsea claim the league on two occasions.
The managers have changed, but the Brazilian remains a key player no matter who is in charge of the team. Upon his arrival back in 2016, Antonio Conte described the 29-year-old as the second best Brazilian of his generation, only behind a certain Neymar. Whereas Manchester United boss José Mourinho recently described him as a “top, top top, player”. Goes to show you how highly every tactician who has worked with the tireless midfield-engine, regards him.
Willian is the main reason why Chelsea are still in contention for qualification against Barça, despite what seemed to be a disappointing home draw in the first leg. It was considered a harsh result, considering the fact that the English side created far more dangerous chances, before giving away a very cheap goal.
But it was the sparkling winger who was the essence of creativity, with his dazzling runs and never-ending long shots, testing Marc André Ter Stegen from long range and from all sorts of angles. The Brazilian was unlucky as he hit the woodwork on two occasions, but was still able to score, what could be a crucial goal.
He could have easily had a hat-trick, but that’s that. In the following clash against United, Willian was there when his team needed him the most. He looked unplayable, and certainly deserved to put his name on the score-sheet, following a well-organized counter-attack that he started and finished in brilliant fashion.
With Neymar all but certain to miss-out in between two to three months due to injury, his World Cup readiness is in jeopardy. Willian will no doubt be the biggest winner – on an individual basis – as no matter what decision Tite takes to replace his protégé, the Chelsea-man is guaranteed a starting spot. Whether he is his direct replacement on the left-hand side, or whether it is Coutinho who will switch flanks from right to left, either way, Willian will be the new entry onto the starting lineup.
Not many could argue that Willian doesn’t deserve to be starting for Brazil against Russia and Germany next month. Whether he will be able to take full advantage of this opportunity, especially against heavyweight opposition in Berlin, will be crucial in his quest to break into the starting lineup in Russia. And it certainly feels like he’s got all what it takes.