One pattern to emerge from this season is that Arsenal’s fanbase always needs someone to blame. Mustafi (even when not playing), Bellerin, Xhaka, Lacazette and Pepe are constant scapegoats for reasons why things go wrong.
Yet certain supporters surpassed themselves this weekend. Whether it’s on blogs, social media, phone-ins, YouTube, etc, Willian’s performance at Villa Park is mentioned more than any other of our players.
To clarify, the midfielder came off the bench on the 74th min. Factoring in stoppage time let’s say he had approx. 21 mins to make an impact. Is that enough time?
Yet surely it can’t be fair that in a game where Arsenal managed only three shots on target, we blame an individual who’s had the least time on the pitch, while his peers don’t get questioned at all?
“Willian was Aston Villa’s best player after he came for Arsenal on Saturday,” said Tony Cascarino on TalkSport.
“There are good signs for Mikel Arteta but I cannot ever remember a club where the manager has had to rely so much on the younger players, and has been so poorly served by the senior professionals.”
Laca had an hour, Aubameyang 40 mins, while Smith Rowe. Pepe and Saka played the entire match. So why do they escape any criticism for our lack of creativity?
Because it’s far easier to blame the ex-Chelsea player then admit a lot of these players are not as good as we claim. Saka for example one day could be great but it’s almost like he’s immune from questioning. 6 goals and 7 assists in 47 League appearances is okay. Maybe good?
It’s not great.
At the other end have you noticed Luiz and Holding will always get a harsher rating than Gabriel, because fans want to convince themselves Gabriel been an amazing signing? In reality after a decent first few outings he’s been no better than Holding or Luiz.
Yet it’s our manager who is accused of favouritism? Irony is obviously lost on some gooners?
Because at the end of the day our manager has dropped the Brazilian. We have won 2 out of our last 7 games. Do you want to know how many of them Willian has started? ONE!
So this idea that Mikel Arteta is showing any bias to him is a myth. It also proves though that Willian isn’t the only one failing to produce in the final third.
Don’t get me wrong, the free transfer hasn’t worked out, neither party are enjoying the deal and, apart from the wages, the 32-year-old probably regrets ever signing a contract with us.
Yet you can’t just give up on an asset you are invested in. It’s a trend that a lot of football fans think is standard.
A coach’s first task is to get the best out of the resources it has, it’s not ideal to be paying an Ozil or Deli All to sit at home.
It sums up this generation that their answer to Willian not starting well at the Emirates is to never play him again. That’s called instant gratification. Young people don’t have the skills to wait and be patient.
However much you want to, you can’t just write Willian off. Now that he’s here, we need to find a way to get the best out of him.
It’s wrong to assume there is an attitude problem. This is a top professional who won every domestic honour possible in the Ukraine and England as well as two Europa League/UEFA Cups. So it is possible he’s just lacking confidence?
The only way he re-finds his mojo is by suddenly smashing in a free kick. You can only do that by being on the pitch, hence the reason to bring him on.
Arsene Wenger once warned that some supporters were in danger of sacrificing the values our club set.
Let’s support our players.
William is only guilty of losing belief, if you’re going to give him a hard time for that, be consistent and point out when others in the squad are not performing (which is the majority).
The idea that we lose to Aston Villa yet only scrutinise the player who had the least time of the pitch, that makes me uncomfortable
Be kind in the comments
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