Ian Wright has urged Mikel Arteta not to pick Willian for the side to play Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
The legend’s comments come amid a poor start to life in N5 for the experienced Brazilian, who is still yet to score for the side this season.
Ahead of Sunday’s monster clash, the Englishman has claimed that the former Chelsea man is far too ‘negative’.
Wright said: “But Saka’s going to be on the left so I’d put Reiss Nelson on the right instead of Willian because we know what Willian’s going to do. For me he’s been a little bit negative with the way he’s been playing, a lot of backwards passing. You need somebody who can at least get back and progress the ball.” (via Wrighty’s House)
Who should start right-wing for Arsenal on Sunday?
Is Willian a negative player? Well, let’s analyse Wright’s claims about the Brazil international.
So far in his short Arsenal career, Willian has been nothing short of a disappointment. There seems to be a real lack of intent from the 32-year-old, who seems to love a pass as opposed to taking on his full-back. Prior to the return of football, following the November international break, the winger had completed just one take-on all season.
I mean just think about that for a second. A right-sided player, whose job is to take on his man and create from the flanks, whilst linking with men in the middle, had completed a solitary take-on. It’s unacceptable and Willian is a shadow of colleague Reiss Nelson.
The young Englishman, who has been tipped to replace the £192k-p/w ace by Wright, has shown how positive he can be on the ball during his stints in the Europa League this campaign. Nelson averages the second-most shots and second-most dribbles per game in the competition, scoring one goal in three games.
In short, the Highbury legend is right in his analysis of Willian. The player proves far too negative for this weekend’s clash, making someone like Nelson an exciting pick in the starting XI. Positivity and youthful energy is a great combination for a big derby game, which hangs in the balance due to the uncertainty over Thomas Partey’s fitness.