Willian was signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee believed to be around £32 million in the summer transfer window of 2013.
His performances in Ukraine and also against Chelsea in the Champions league were clearly good enough to persuade the Blues to pay such a large sum for the Brazilian. Since arriving at Chelsea he has been a regular first team player but his performances do not suggest he should be getting as many games as he has been.
Willian is often applauded for his hard work up and down the pitch where by he puts pressure on the opposition and this in turn causes the turnover. This is one attribute that Jose Mourinho loves all, if not most of his players to have, despite the fact that Willian plays in an attacking role.
Mourinho loves this aspect of the game so much that he even benched and sold Juan Mata, Chelsea's previous player of the season, apparently due to lack of defensive work-rate. Even arguably Chelsea's best player, Eden Hazard, has been publicly criticised by Mourinho for not applying enough defensive pressure on the opposition.
Is Mourinho wrong?
While this is an efficient trait to have, it appears that this matters far too much for Mourinho. Despite playing in every game bar one this season Willian has scored just one goal and made two assists. This is well below fellow attacking mids Hazard and Oscar, who have eight goals, five assists and six goals, seven assists respectively.
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Not only do the stats show that he has limited contribution to the team but he is rarely involved in the goals and lacks the class, composure and skill that other players in the team have.
Don't get me wrong he tries his heart out every week and can look very silky, but he rarely looks like a genuine goal threat or sets up a player to score. Instead he seems to do some nice silky movements on the wing, which generally don't lead to anything.
The other point is that Chelsea have a very handy replacement for Willian who sits on the bench most weeks called Andre Schurrle. He has scored two more goals than Willian this season and has just played 436 minutes compared to Willian's 1344.
He looks like a much more genuine goal threat but he does not apply the same defensive pressure that Willian does, which is more than likely why Mourinho has selected Willian over Schurrle so many times this campaign.
I am not saying Willian is a bad player but he certainly stands out as a weak-point in a very strong team and Schurrle should at least be playing more often than he is at the moment.
I do the see the value of applying forward pressure but with Oscar also very good at applying it then I think Chelsea can certainly afford to play without Willian. However, the question is will Mourinho feel the same way and give more chances to Schurrle, especially after his late goal on the weekend against Swansea?
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