Whether you think he got two assists or three, there is no denying Willian stole the show against Fulham delivering a debut to remember.
Arsenal Tweeted that Willian had registered three assists but the officials are recording only two. Either way, anyone who was still of the nothing the former Chelsea man had crossed London for a final payday at an N5 retirement home was swiftly shaken of that notion.
Only five more assists to go to match his tally for Chelsea in 36 Premier League games last season.
Willian was voted as the Premier League’s Player of the Match:
Willian finished with the following stats for his Arsenal debut:
- Minutes played 76
- Goals 0
- Assists 2 (or 3)
- Total shots 2
- Passes 26
- Accurate passes 25
- Pass success rate 96%
- Crosses 4
- Long balls 5
- Accurate long balls 4
- Key passes 3
- Touches 37
- Chances created 1
- Shots on target 50%
- Woodwork 1
- Duels 2
- Duels won 1
- Fouls 1
- Fouled 2
- Recoveries 5
Five recoveries. From an Arsenal attacking player who also got two/three assists.
Speaking to the media after the match, Mikel Arteta was asked about both Willian and Gabriel.
“Yeah, they were both really good,” Arteta said. “Obviously for Willian it’s a little bit different because he knows the league, the country and he’s very settled here, so I knew his performances would happen straight away.
“With Gabriel it was a big challenge for him to come in today having not played any football for the last six months and he had a terrific performance.”
Arteta was then asked if Willian’s arrival would give Nicolas Pepe a rocket. Well, they didn’t say that exactly but you know that’s what they were thinking despite his stats for last season.
“Well, it’s not for Nico,” answered Arteta. “I think it’s for the players that were today on the bench and as well the ones that we had to leave at home. If they raise their levels then the performances of the team and club are going to improve and this is what I demand from them.
“I’m really happy with all the boys and the way they’re training, but selection is getting more complicated and with this new rule of just having only 18 players in the squad makes it very difficult.”