Jose Mourinho acquired Willian for Chelsea a few seasons ago, and under his reign, the Brazilian enjoyed some great footballing time. He was a regular starter in our front three, alongside Eden Hazard and Diego Costa. Mourinho’s exit meant a new dawn, and that new era seems to have not favored the Brazilian.
Since the reign of Antonio Conte, he has favored a slightly different formation from the one used by Mou which saw Willian start regularly. However, the Brazilian’s diminishing playing time isn’t entirely a result of a tweak in formation or playing style, it’s more of bad timing and competition.
When Conte took over, Willian was afforded enough playing time. Willian was granted leave due to his mother’s death and Pedro came into the fold, and showed great form to keep it. Willian struggled to get back into the team after returning from Brazil due to Pedro’s form. No coach would have wanted to break up the chemistry of a team doing so well, so we can’t fault Conte either.
Last season is gone, and a new season has come, yet Willian faces the same uphill challenge of reclaiming a starting spot in the Chelsea team. The problem for him this season has to be in the form of tactics and formation change effected by Conte. It was 3-4-3 last season, meaning that we could accommodate two forward players beside the striker, but with the recent tweak in formation, only two forwards play upfront; in this case, Hazard and Morata.
It’s a very difficult situation for the club and coach to handle, because Willian has shown great form thus far. He has scored some crucial goals this season, and his stunning strike against Liverpool is a reminder of his importance to us.
There have been talks of a possible move away in search of more playing time, and as much as we hate to admit it, it has to be said that it could come to pass if his situation doesn’t change. Of course, losing him would be devastating, but we still wouldn’t fault him for it because the dream of every footballer is to play regularly.
Conte has always reiterated his love for Willian, as well as the willingness to work on improving his situation, so we can only hope that Willian’s situation changes soon, because it will hurt to lose an amazing talent like Willian.