Arteta finally reaches telling verdict on Willian’s poor Arsenal career

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has finally admitted that the criticism directed at Willian since his summer move from Chelsea has been warranted.

The 32-year-old has drastically struggled for form since moving to the Emirates Stadium in the summer, when he was billed as the experienced head to help guide Arteta's squad towards a top four finish.

Instead he has failed to score a goal in his 24 appearances in all competitions, and has seen the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe surpass him in the pecking order under Arteta.

Gunners supporters have been vocal in their disappointment at his displays, and Arteta understands why.

"I don’t say it’s [the criticism] unfair," he said on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League clash with Benfica in Rome.

"The expectations of Willy and the goals he can score, the assists he can create. It’s normal that people will write things about him. We have to protect him as much as we can"

Despite that admission though, the Arsenal boss remains confident that the Brazilian can eventually turn things around at the Gunners, mainly because of the work he is putting behind the scenes.

"The way he’s training, the way he’s working, the way he’s willing to give everything to the team, is what I demand," he said.

"Whether he’s more successful or less successful in the game is another matter. It will come with the quality that he has.

"But at least what I demand from every player is the full commitment and to put the passion and everything they have in every training session and when they have the opportunity to play.

"And so far Willian has done that every single day."

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