Chelsea winger Willian struck late to earn the struggling Premier League side a win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, and continues to perform heroics while his teammates flounder. The Brazilian international, 27, buried a free-kick from distance to break the deadlock at Stamford Bridge, earning the Londoners a 2-1 win and a second-place spot in their Champions League group.
Signed before Jose Mourinho’s second stint at the club, Willian has been a standout start for the Portuguese coach during a team where last season’s heroes have been struggling for form. The likes of John Terry, Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have all underperformed following their title-winning campaign of 2014/15, but Willian has been a consistent performer in the side throughout.
His place in the side was being speculated about following the arrival of former Barcelona winger Pedro, but he’s fast becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet. Willian was superb against Dynamo Kiev too, tirelessly beating his opposite marker, and having a number of chances at goal. The Brazilian also won fouls for his team, and did the dirty work by making important tackles and interceptions. His performance was praised by manager Jose Mourinho.
“Willian has been playing very well for a long time – not just today. It’s difficult for me to forget some fantastic individual performances. I think it’s fair to look to Willian with different eyes due to his work rate, quality on the ball and obviously his participation in the first goal and a phenomenal second goal,” he said. Mourinho isn’t wrong either. Three goals in four Champions League games has helped to propel Chelsea into a top-two spot in the group, and Willian is setting the benchmark for the season.
The 27-year-old has been finding the back of the net with a number of free-kicks this season, but his overall performances are where he’s praised the most. An industrious player, the South American forward works harder than most on and off the ball, and also has a creative touch that can see him beating his opponents and creating goalscoring opportunities. He’s been the only player Mourinho can rely on this season, and is sure to remain a regular first-teamer as long as he keeps shining in a Chelsea shirt.
Willian greatly impressed during the Blues’ title-winning season, and is one of few players to have avoided a slump in form despite so much game time in 2014/15. He bailed his club out on Wednesday night against Dynamo Kiev, and has been Chelsea’s unlikely hero this campaign. At a time where the majority of Chelsea’s squad are being criticised for poor showings in all competitions, Willian’s consistency certainly deserves the plaudits. He’s been the Londoners go-to player for goals, and has worked hard to carry out his manager’s instructions regardless of the club’s woes on and off the pitch.
Just how good has Willian been for Chelsea this season?