Willian has emerged for Chelsea as a key figure since the Christmas period. The Brazilian was signed from under the noses of Tottenham Hotspur in August, but was widely unused until the latter end of 2013. Now though, he is one of Chelsea’s most important players and has started key fixtures against Manchester City and also Arsenal. Willian has looked energetic, industrious and skilfull at times, but he has only scored two league goals in his 17 appearances for Chelsea, so does he need to do more in front of goal?
Chelsea’s lack of goals
Chelsea have not had many goals from their forwards. Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres has contributed just 11 goals between them in the Premier League. With such ineffective strikers Chelsea are very reliant on their supporting players for goals, particularly Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian, who occupy the three positions behind the striker. Hazard is Chelsea’s top scorer with 12, whilst Oscar is joint second with six. Willian though has netted just two goals this season, which is not really good enough for a player occupying one of those three roles, particularly in the context of a lack of goals from Chelsea’s strikers.
Against West Brom Willian had six efforts (two of which were blocked) and got just half of these efforts on target. Chelsea need better form from Willian who has managed to get just 53% of his efforts on target this season and has converted just 10.6% of his total chances. The reason he needs to do better is simply that he can. His two goals this season were both evident of the fact that Willian can find the back of the net. The left footed curler against Norwich was brilliant, whilst the goal versus Southampton was also a very effective finish from outside of the box.
As you can see above, he clearly has an eye for goal and the ability to score in difficult circumstances. He is simply not doing it enough though.
Willian does offer a lot more than just goals. His industry is absolutely essential to track back and win tackles and interceptions. Willian works incredibly hard for the side not just tracking back but also in terms of charging out from the back to initiate counter-attacks which are key components of Jose Mourinho’s more reactive Chelsea side. Versus Manchester City in the Premier League we saw him effectively leading the charge for his side on the counter, including a brilliant run out of his own half that resulted in Ramires forcing a save from Joe Hart. That being said if Willian wants to totally justify his price tag he must start scoring more goals. Chelsea sold Juan Mata who scored 12 goals last season and those need to be replaced. Willian must get closer to scoring on a more consistent basis if Chelsea are to challenge for honours in the business end of the season.