Willian Makes Way
As supporters, it’s imperative that the team are backed accordingly. Getting on a faltering player’s back will cease only to exacerbate whatever poor form they already find themselves in. However, when they’ve been below-par all season yet continued to be chosen, rightful questions must be asked.
One of the most stinging criticisms of Arteta has been his unwavering faith in Willian. The Brazilian has done little to justify his three-year deal worth more than Arsenal should have spared, even if he isn’t the only culpable member of this failing squad.
Fully expected to feature on Wednesday, his omission in favour of Nicolas Pepe indicates a light bulb has gone off in Arteta’s head that he needs changes made to his forward line.
Pre-match he insisted something had to be done, and the inclusion of Pepe from the start after serving his three-match ban at least makes Arsenal more of a threat in the final third.
Did Pepe play well? Not especially. He pressed plenty and got into some decent positions in the box, but his involvement in the build-up play is still lacking finesse. Regardless of that, he still gets in ahead of Willian. Maybe Arteta has learned that now.