Even when Chelsea sank to their lowest under Jose Mourinho this season, Willian proved one of few players continuing to perform and fight. The Brazilian became a subject of prominent plaudits and respect.
However, since the arrival of Guus Hiddink, Willian has suffered a dip in form. While the majority of his team-mates have improved under the Dutchman, the 27-year-old has bucked the trend.
After another stale showing against Manchester City this weekend, it appears time that Chelsea drop the Brazilian. Their patience can extend no further.
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In December, it would appear Willian had Chelsea’s ‘Player of the Season’ award sewn up an entire five months before the end of the campaign.
Even when playing amid a team of flopping stars, the 27-year-old continued to shine under the ‘Special One’. In fact, by December, the winger possessed the incredible accolade of having scored six free-kicks.
Alongside Hiddink though, his goal tally has sunk. While the Brazilian has at long last been scoring from open play, finding the net just four times in 2016 is poor for a player in such an offensive position.
Willian has been far from poor but nonetheless a far cry from his early season showings.
These struggles became ever apparent in Chelsea’s 3-0 humbling by Manchester City. Willian proved absent throughout and was greatly criticised for his lack of effort during the game by a number of pundits.
It seems the fight and determination that ladened his performances under Mourinho has slipped away with the Blues’ silverware chances.
With the 27-year-old’s form continuing to stagnate, time on the bench may be the remedy to try and reinvigorate his season.
Besides, it’s not exactly as if Chelsea feel they have to play the Brazilian, their season is practically over. For the immediate future, players such as Bertrand Traore should be fielded ahead of the faltering wide man.
There is no obligation for the west London side to field their experienced and talented players. Even if Willian remained flying high, dropping him would still be positive in order to provide more game time for academy players.
In addition, Chelsea fans are crying out to see their players try and rescue some pride in 2015-16. Willian displayed little effort against City and thus should not be rewarded for such complacency.
Chelsea need to accept that Willian has fallen a long way since his dizzying heights of the start of the season and drop the Brazilian. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but his lack of effort and goals should see youngsters favoured.
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