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Arsenal fans are concerned Mikel Arteta is about to bring Willian back into his starting XI. Willian has not played for the Gunners since the 2-1 defeat to Everton in December. The Brazilian missed the back-to-back Premier League wins over former club Chelsea and Brighton due to illness.
In Willian’s absence, Arteta has given the youngsters the chance to shine – and they took their opportunity.
Bukayo Saka put in two man of the match performances, with Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe also both impressing for the Gunners as they returned to winning ways.
However, Willian was back in full training this week and appears to be in the squad for the match at West Brom this evening (8pm).
The 32-year-old posted a tweet at just after 4.30pm which read: “Matchday! #premierleague #arsenalfc #happynewyear #Gunners”, accompanied by a picture of the experienced star.
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Willian has struggled since his free transfer to Arsenal last summer, having failed to score in his 16 appearances for the club.
And some Arsenal fans took to social media to express their concern that Willian could come back into the side at the Hawthorns.
“Willian just posted on his socials, he might start, we are dusted,” wrote one fan.
“He’s gonna play Willian isn’t he?” said another.
Arteta took the brunt of the criticism from supporters, despite the starting XIs not being confirmed until 7pm.
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One fan wrote: “Willian shouldn’t even be in the squad tonight and if he is, that says a lot about Arteta.
Another put: “If Willian starts. Oh my god.”
“If Willian starts I wanna fight Arteta,” wrote one more.
Another fan joked Willian would be better staying at home during the current uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
“Willian, stay safe stay at home,” they wrote.
All 12 of Willian’s Premier League appearances for the Gunners have been as a starter.
He provided three assists on his debut in the 3-0 win at Fulham last September.
But a string of underwhelming performances since have seen some fans turn on him.
Last month, Arsenal technical director Edu came out in defence of his fellow Brazilian and demanded patience from supporters.
“Listen, everybody knows Willian,” said Edu. “If people say that he’s not a good footballer then maybe they don’t know football because he has always performed at the top, top level. Then he moved.
“For me, Willian is a question of time to be performing how we know he can.
“What do you expect? Do you expect it straight away? Boom! Willian can be the best one?
“But he needs a little bit of time, it’s strange as well to say that but you need time to know the players who you are going to play with.”
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