As one chapter begins, another one must come to an end. That is the case for this season’s number 10, Willian, as a move across the city to Arsenal has been confirmed. Willian has enjoyed a superb innings at the club, after signing in August of 2013 for a fee of £30m. In this piece, I will look at Willian’s best moments, my favourite memories and give an overview of his time in the famous royal blue shirt, as we bid farewell to our number 10.
The landing of Willian was a huge breath of fresh air for Chelsea, as the then 24-year-old had also attracted the eyes of Tottenham, and the North London club was desperate to land the Brazilian. Willian completed a medical at White Hart Lane before deciding he wanted the Chelsea move. The player has since claimed he always preferred the option of Chelsea, and that he would only have chosen Spurs had the Chelsea deal fallen through. This created the infamous “Willian Saw The Light” chant that echoed around Stamford Bridge on a weekly basis.
Willian made his Chelsea debut in the Champions League group stage against Basel, during Chelsea’s return to the competition after competing in the Europa League the season prior, and winning the whole thing. His first Chelsea goal came during a 3-1 victory over Norwich City, where the winger fired a stunning long-range strike past John Ruddy, which was nominated for the club’s goal of the season award. The Brazilian struggled to keep momentum following this game and took his time to acclimatise to the pressure and standards of the Premier League, but he eventually found his feet and cemented himself as a key Chelsea player. Willian earned himself a call up to Brazil’s World Cup squad for 2014, which was testament to his solid form for Chelsea.
As the 2014/15 season rolled around, Willian was now part of the devastating front 3 alongside Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who decimated the league during this campaign and helped secure Chelsea’s 4th Premier League. Willian enjoyed a fantastic campaign and topped it off with two trophies, playing 36/38 League games for the Blues. He was also involved in the goal that won the Capital One Cup against Tottenham at Wembley, which was the perfect way to wrap up an exceptional season for Chelsea.
Over the course of his Chelsea career, Willian cemented himself as a serial winner, and his trophy cabinet is nothing short of impressive. The Brazilian won 2 Premier Leagues, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, 1 Europa League, and also won the Chelsea Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season in the 2015/16 season. This range of accolades proves the quality and importance he had to the club.
Some Of My Favourite Willian Moments:
The opinion splitter himself has had some very memorable moments in a Chelsea shirt, some good, some bad, but memories us fans will have forever. Here are just a few of my favourite Willian moments:
THAT goal vs Manchester City (2016/17)
This game remains one of my favourite Chelsea games, as it outlined just how devastating we can be on the counter. After going 1-0 down after a Gary Cahill own goal, we turned it around in style and scored 3 tremendous counter-attacking goals, the second coming from Willian. As Costa picked the ball up on the halfway line, Willian had already flicked the burners on and destroyed Alexander Kolarov in a race to the ball and slotted it home to take the lead. A real showcase of the true speed he had.
Brace vs Tottenham (2019/20)
The Brazilian helped the Blues pick up an all-important victory over Spurs this season, which set Frank Lampard up to be the first manager in history to do a league double over Jose Mourinho. Willian netted twice, once from the penalty spot, and one scorcher on his right foot following a short corner, which set the away end alight. This performance really highlighted his importance to the side.
Identical free-kicks against Dynamo Kiev (2015 and 2019)
This moment was one of the most exciting things we’ve seen Willian do at Chelsea. A moment of sheer beauty in our Europa League game against Dynamo Kiev in 2019. Willian put his freekick into the top left-hand corner, which was an absolute peach of a goal. This goal would have likely made the list on its own, but the fact it was absolutely identical to the one he scored past the same side in the Champions League in 2015 is what makes it so special. Us fans thought we’d gone back in time when this one hit the net, a real favourite of mine.
4 in a row (2015/16)
A particular run of events springs to mind when I think of Willian. Back in the 2015/16 season, the Brazilian netted four freekicks in four games, and each one was special. The best of the four came against Southampton, and what a freekick it was. Bent from 25 yards across the goal and in off the far post, this moment stands out to me as one of his best goals in blue.
Whether you love him or hate him, we can all agree he helped out on numerous occasions and gave us many memorable moments. Willian has been a terrific player for Chelsea, and we are grateful for the time he spent with us. Thankyou Willian.