Leicester v Arsenal: Arteta previews clash
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Willian produced arguably his best performance for Arsenal since making his debut against Fulham in September. The Brazilian registered three assists that day but has since struggled in a Gunners shirt.
The forward, who sealed a free transfer from Chelsea in the summer, has found his game time cut short of late due to a prolonged run of poor form.
Arteta, though, handed the Brazil star a chance against Burnley in Sunday’s early kick-off and was rewarded with a fine display in return.
Willian set up David Luiz’s equaliser in the 3-1 win and looked sharp – taking players on, showing his turn of pace and looking confident on the ball.
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And one moment summed up his ‘man of the match’ display, in particular. Receiving the ball in his own half, Willian chopped inside leaving Timothy Castagne on the turf.
“Willian turn on prime Willian today,” posted one Arsenal fan.
“Ahaha this was so good. The burst of pace after skins Tielemans too and he gets carded trying to stop Willian,” posted another.
“To the shadow realm he goes,” joked one fan.
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“Motm from me. Never thought I’d say that,” posted another.
Willian’s turnaround in form could come at a crucial time for Arsenal as they look to finish the season strong and make a late top four charge.
And when asked for his thoughts on Willian and his fellow senior team-mates stepping up, Arteta said: “They are the ones that had to drive the ball forward then we can add something with the young talented players that we have. It cannot be the opposite way round.
“They have to take leadership and be accountable because they are the ones you have to produce performances to give us some stability.”
On picking up all three points, against a strong Leicester side, he said: “I’m really proud of the team. The connection we showed, passion and how we reacted to a disappointing start again because it puts this team in the worst scenario.
“Then we looked composed, confident. The energy and the positiveness around the team was really good. We created some good moments and scored some good goals.”
Arteta made six changes for the win over Leicester, giving the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a chance to rest. Asked if he’s found a new system, Arteta said: “Depends on the players we have available, the moment the team is living and the game plan we want to produce against the opponents.
“It’s not that we have to rotate. I want to rotate and have the chance to the players. They deserve. The way they train everyday, behind all the players.
“Only way to do it is to play them. You can use many ways to motivate but at the end of the day it is to be on the field. And I’m so pleased even making a lot of changes we were able to produce this performance.”
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