The Complete Collapse Of Willian

When Arsenal signed Willian Borges domain authority Silva this summer I wrote a piece about how even if I didn’t like the signing because of his age there was at least a sort of súc tích to lớn it because he had been one of the League’s top chance creators (6th overall in SCA with 5.12 & 21st in SCA from open play) a very good dribbler (2.15/2.98), a progressive sầu passer, with a decent progressive sầu carries number, and a player who created a lot of chances for teammates (71 total, 7th in the League). If he could provide somewhere around 10 goals in his first season with Arsenal it would probably be worth it. But what’s happened khổng lồ Willian this season has been nothing less than shocking.

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He could still “hot up” & get those 10 goals. He has 3 assists and we have half a season of football left but there are structural problems with the way he’s playing which indicate that won’t happen.

The first and most obvious problem is that he can’t beat anyone off a dribble. In fact he doesn’t even try. In most matches, he collects the ball, starts lớn run at someone, then turns around & passes the ball backward. He does this so often that it’s annoying. And this shows up in his attempted and won dribbles numbers, his progressive sầu carries numbers và so on. Just khổng lồ underline this point: he attempted 2.98 dribbles per90 last season, this season he attempts 0.78. All of the Arsenal players’ dribble numbers are down this season – possibly due to instructions from Arteta – but this isn’t just down a few ticks, his dribbles have sầu cratered & with them almost all of his attacking play.

If this is due to lớn instructions from Arteta, it’s quite frustrating. That means that we bought a guy whose strength was beating a man và creating chances for his teammates và told him lớn stop doing that. If that’s actually what happened I would seriously question Mikel Arteta’s coaching. Because that means not only are Arsenal now not playing any active sầu defense but we are avoiding all duels all together. I’m not sure how we are supposed to lớn score goals if we don’t try khổng lồ beat a man once in a while. Though it does explain why we are so terrible offensively: teams can just sit bachồng a bit & let Arsenal play in long, dumb, crosses khổng lồ forwards who can’t score in the air. Arteta is lauded as a genius cấp độ coach, so I’m going lớn defer to lớn hyên ổn on this one. There must be some sort of long-term brilliant plan, which is going lớn pay off in the over & shower us with League titles và European glory.

But baông xã to lớn Willian, if this is per Arteta’s instructions it’s not working because every one of his attacking stats have cratered.

Dribbles are down over 2 per90, Progressive carries are down from 12.1 khổng lồ 7.35, carries inkhổng lồ the penalty area per90 (CPA90) are down from 2.01 to an utterly useless 0.39 & of course that also means that his touches in the penalty area are down from 4.81 khổng lồ 2.84 per90.

Not included in this chart are the total carries, which are down from 50.3 lớn 40.6, và progressive sầu yds carried, which are down from 207.6 lớn 130.2 (all numbers are per90). I cannot believe that Mikel Arteta is telling his players not lớn carry the ball forward, và not khổng lồ advance the ball inlớn the penalty area. That would be criminal.

But perhaps the goal is to pass the ball more? Play less one-v-one duels và progress the ball with passing? That’s also not working (as we see week in và week out, he passes the ball backward).

Progressive passing is down, key passes down, expected assists per90 down, passes into the penalty area, down, overall yards pass per90 is down slightly from 777 last season lớn 716 this season, with all of the hit coming from his progressive pass yards which are down from 178.7 to 135.2.

And of course all of this poor attacking play shows up in his shot creating actions numbers:

Interesting that his goal creating actions per90 are relatively stable – so that’s good – but I’d guess that they will start to lớn fall unless he’s able to lớn create more for his teammates. His expected assists per90 are down from 0.24 last season to lớn 0.15 và we need khổng lồ rethành viên that a player can have sầu more than one GCA per goal (for example, a foul và a free kick). He’s had 6 GCA this season (total) and none since December.

It looks a lot like a combination of Arteta’s tactics và Willian’s age have caught up khổng lồ hyên. We bought a player who could reliably beat a man off the dribble & create for teammates và he’s just not able to do that any more. It’s no wonder that Arsenal are signing Martin Odegaard: we desperately need a playmaker on the right.


claudeivan says:

The first và most obvious problem is that he can’t beat anyone off a dribble. In fact he doesn’t even try. In most matches, he collects the ball, starts khổng lồ run at someone, then turns around và passes the ball backward

Spot on. He consistently does that & it’s infuriating to see. I doubt that Mikel told hyên ổn lớn play that way… our other players attaông chồng the space behind/outside the full-baông xã.

I could see the logic/expected gain from signing Willian, but I find staggering the decision khổng lồ give khổng lồ a guy who turned 32 on August 9th, a 3 year contract at a shade under 200k. If Willian’s slide isn’t reversible by this season’s kết thúc, we are stuông chồng with the player for 2 more years.

Watching 43 year old Tom Brady operate yesterday is khổng lồ be reminded that athletes playing at above-average quit-age in their sport (yes, I know things are very different from sport khổng lồ sport and Brady does not rely on explosive sầu running) are rare specimens. To underst& how dumb Arsenal executives were in this instance, they were essentially saying (in giving hlặng a contract that expired on the cusp of his 35th birthday) that Willian was a special & above-average footballer. This is Mikel’s folly. Not even Bergkamp got multiple-year contracts out of Wenger at 31/32.

btw Willian’s old trùm was sacked today. All I’ll say about that is Arteta is lucky that he doesn’t work for Roman Abramovich. He’d have been gone in early December.

victorious One says:
Bunburyist says:

You don’t really think he’s playing negatively at Arteta’s behest, vị you? You just have sầu to lớn look at the way Tierney and Saka play, for example, khổng lồ see their positivity in terms of dribbling / taking on the opposition as a reason Arteta prefers (in this case) Saka over Willian on the right.

It worries me slightly when Arteta says he’s going khổng lồ keep “supporting” Willian, but I’ll put that down khổng lồ the kind of thing a manager has lớn say publicly (more telling, of course, is the fact that Arteta no longer trusts hlặng in Prem games). Right now, it’s damage control with an eye khổng lồ shipping hyên ổn in the summer. At least, I hope that’s the case, but it will be very hard to lớn do with his wages và contract.

Quite simply, I have sầu no idea why Willian has tanked as bad as he has this season. I don’t think it’s the ‘system’ though.

imothyt says:

All the players are dribbling less. We are down from 18.7 dribbles per90 last season lớn 13.9 this season.

Auba: 1.41 lớn 0.83Pepe: 5.92 lớn 3.52Laca: 2.21 to 1.39AMN : 2.86 khổng lồ 2.41Bell: 2.71 to lớn 1.78JoeW: 3.47 to lớn 2.69Xhak: 1.11 khổng lồ 0.69Reis: 4.14 lớn 2.50Mart: 3.92 khổng lồ 2.78

Saka is up slightly from 2.46 khổng lồ 2.8

It’s clear that we are dribbling less. We are dribbling at about the same rate as Wenger’s team when they lost Sanchez, Ox, & Walcott. Why? Because teams are playing deeper? That doesn’t seem right. Plus we know for sure that Arteta wants the players khổng lồ play crosses, especially deep crosses.

Jaông xã Action

I think it’d be an interesting discussion on whether high dribbling stats correlate to offensive sầu potency or maybe it’s just a stat that indicates the style of offense. I could make the argument that beating a man off the dribble produces less chances than one-touch passing, movement off the ball and overloads in areas.

The West Brom game is a brilliant example – Tierney beat his man off the dribble and scored a solo goal. Was that better than the Saka-ESR-Lacazette one-touch combination play that produced the second goal? Notoàn thân dribbled there.

I’d suggest the latter goal is a more dynamic and potentially consistent vision for the offense than relying on players dribbling. To that point then, I absolutely believe that Arteta wants more passing of the ball (a la City – I bet you Mahrez dribbles less than he did at Leicester, Bernardo less than he did at Monaco, etc… does deBruyne actually beat players off the dribble?). The problem is for Arteta that Willian has no telepathy with other players và so he can’t participate in any interchanges. He’s asked not to lớn dribble, but then pulls up and there’s no one coming short for the ball. (Don’t get me wrong – the onus then is on Willian lớn assume the initiative và pivot to taking defenders on).

I can see we have great partnerships brewing – Martinelli/Tierney, ESR/Saka, at one time Laca/Aucha, where the players feel more comfort exchanging positions và running for each other.

Just my thoughts on the drop in dribbling và why maybe it’s not to lớn worry about.

Sure, I see that, but Arteta’s preference for Saka over Willian tells you a lot about what he wants & how he wants his forwards to lớn play. All Willian tries to bởi vì is retain possession, at all costs, but clearly Arteta finds this laông xã of positivity concerning.

You can always look at the team và set-up as part of the reason why a player isn’t adapting, but Willian is just poor, full stop, and it’s frustrating and strange. It’s not just the way his inclination is to turn và pass backwards; it’s the misplaced passes, the lack of vision, the poor touches, everything. He’s well into lớn the part of his Arsenal career where his bad form is no doubt dictating his caution & causing mistakes.

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Willian’s 3 assists were in the first game against Fulmê mẩn.

Since then, sweet FA.

AS for the myth that Arteta is a great coach, it seems lớn be nothing more than that, a myth.

Can any of us honestly see that we have seen any evidence of it?

However, it is very much a matter of repeating a lie often enough, so that people will then believe sầu it.

Surely, any manager/coach who can so readily eschew the abilities of a world-class schemer, even one in the twilight of his career, can hardly be a great coach.

What we’re seeing is a coach / manager who is in good measure learning as he goes, but clearly there are people cđại bại to lớn hyên ổn, including the players, who recognize there’s something special about him. I don’t think it’s a myth. It doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes, as all good coaches bởi.

I’d also point out that he inherited a badly misshapen squad that we are now finally starting khổng lồ trlặng. I always thought he needed about two or three summers to get the team he wanted, with his fingerprints on it. Whether or not he’ll get that time is a real question. I’m interested to see how we handle the upcoming fixtures, which look daunting lớn say the least.

Who are these people cthua thảm lớn Arteta who are saying that there is something special about him?

Not the players, because they will say anything not to lớn get in his bad books. We have seen what happens then.

Once again this myth about a defective squad. It was a squad full of experienced internationals. Please don’t suggest that a good, let alone a “special” coach could not bởi something with them, or produce anything better than the dross we have sầu been seeing for the last year.

If Arteta had not been lucky and Willian & Pepe not been ill, và he was forced to play ESR, và we saw how great it was khổng lồ play with some creativity, bởi you imagine for one moment he would have done that voluntarily?

In truth, I believe that had he not had that stroke of luông xã he would have been shown the door well before Lampard was.

As it is, he showed on Saturday that his preferred style has not changed, và the rubbish football it produced.

This “special” coach has produced rubbish for a year and you want hyên ổn to lớn continue khổng lồ do so, relying on what the people cchiến bại khổng lồ hyên may be saying?

This is taking wishful thinking to a new level.

How many “fans” did the same thing during Emery’s 22 unbeaten run, during which we played some dreadful games và were lucky not lớn thua trận, & yet he was found out as soon as that run came khổng lồ an end.

Arteta has been found out already và yet people still churn out this nonsense about how great a coach he is.

Please open your eyes và see what is going on và not rely on your hopes.

The reason we dribble less is because we sold our dribblers and didn’t replace them.

Arteta likes Willian và Xhaka because they provide technical security – which is code for they don’t give possession away cheaply. This comes at a price as it means we’re risk averse but hey, we have a coach who plays two DMs in trang chính games against mid table opposition.

I asked on the previous thread what is our style of play? No one knows as we’ve sầu been experimenting with line ups constantly. If you look at Wenger and Guardiola (assuming they’re Arteta’s key influences) he’s trying to lớn play a possession based passing game. But as we know, some of the personnel (Willian & Xhaka are top of this list) just ain’t goodish enough.

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