Arsenal legend Michael Thomas has admitted that he has been left ‘very surprised’ by the underwhelming first season that Willian had with the Gunners, in an exclusive talk with CaughtOffside…
Thomas, who enjoyed a nine-year spell with the Gunners before later featuring for Liverpool – and England along the way, admits that the side ‘need better’ next season.
Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League, largely due to the fact that we weren’t good enough going forward and ‘didn’t score enough goals’ as Thomas notes.
Thomas isn’t sure why Willian ‘didn’t click’ as part of the team after his free transfer following the expiry of his contract at Chelsea, with the Brazilian really failing to make good on the club’s investment.
Willian marked his top-flight debut for the Gunners with a hat-trick of assists that was later cut down to two, but after that promising show things really slid for the attacking midfielder.
Thomas was ‘very surprised’ with the underwhelming performances of Willian in his first season:
“Willian I am very surprised with. He is extremely experienced at the top level and in the Premier League too. I am not sure what didn’t click for him but we need better.”
“We didn’t score enough goals this season and that really let us down.”
Willian only managed three other assists in the other 24 top-flight appearances he made for the Gunners in his first season, with the 32-year-old waiting until his last outing of the season to score his first goal.
It wasn’t even as though the wide-man was making an impact for Mikel Arteta on other fronts, with two assists in the Europa League Willian’s only contributions in 10 outings in the cup competitions.
Willian’s shaky performances saw the Brazil international phased out of the starting lineup by December and the ace only featured from the get-go in the Premier League on a couple of occasions after that.
The ace also spent some considerable time in the final stages of the season as an unused substitute or out of the matchday squad entirely, which sparks doubt on his chances under Arteta next term.