It’s safe to say that Willian has been – arguably, at least – Chelsea’s best player in recent weeks.
The Brazilian has been on target in Chelsea’s last three matches, netting twice against Hull in the FA Cup before starring in the 1-1 draw against Barcelona, duly scoring and picking up the Man of the Match award ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard.
He then slotted past the usually unbeatable David de Gea in the defeat to Man United last Sunday.
So by and large, in a period where Chelsea have seemingly been on the brink of a ‘crisis’, Willian has been one of the few shining lights in a difficult second season for Antonio Conte.
So why on earth has he only made 14 starts in the Premier League this season?
Speaking to the Evening Standard recently, Danny Murphy (who usually has the same opinions as ‘yer da’) criticised the Blues boss for his ‘ridiculous’ treatment of Willian, and believes the Italian could do worse than build Chelsea’s team around the Brazil international.
He said: “I am concerned that Antonio Conte makes too many selections based on personality rather than performance.
“Willian’s recent form has rightly been highlighted but whenever he plays for Chelsea, he nearly always makes an impact.
“So why has he made only 14 Premier League starts this season? It is ridiculous.”
One thing that Willian should be commended for above all else is his patience and perseverance. Since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2013, he’s been one of the club’s most consistent performers and was by-far their best player during the difficult 2015-2016 season, receiving the Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Also, ask any Chelsea fan and they’ll say Willian’s decision to switch to the Blues ahead of Spurs (who were seemingly favourites to snap him up from Anzhi Makhachkala) is still his greatest moment in Blue.
Last season, he often found himself battling Pedro for the right-wing position opposite Eden Hazard, much like Nemanja Matic competed with Cesc Fabregas for the role in midfield.
And while Matic scooted off to Man United in the summer, Willian stayed, despite plenty of speculation that Jose Mourinho wanted to bring him to Old Trafford as well.
This season has been much the same, although his playing time has been virtually identical to Pedro so far.
However, the Brazilian is quietly on track for his best season in Blue yet, having already notched 10 goals and 10 assists across all competitions this season, with only Hazard responsible for more.
For a player of his consistent, game-changing quality, he deserves more love from his manager.
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