Recent signing Willian has got “lost” in Mikel Arteta’s underperforming Arsenal side since his move from Chelsea, according to Paul Merson.
The Brazilian joined up with the Gunners in August after becoming a free agent following his Blues exit.
As such, there was expectation that he would form a deadly attack alongside the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Indeed, the 31-year-old revealed lofty ambitions from Arteta upon confirming his transfer.
And while Willian notched two assists in his Arsenal Premier League debut against Fulham, he has since failed to contribute to any goals despite only missing the 1-0 defeat to Leicester.
But his lack of goals is a malaise shared across Arteta’s side; the Gunners have only scored once in their previous four top-flight outings.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson highlighted that Willian is a key player who needs to step up with contributions.
“I think I’m seeing things at the moment,” the pundit said.
“Willian was unbelievable at Chelsea last year. For me, he was probably one of the best Chelsea players. He was phenomenal – an outstanding talent.
“He has gone to Arsenal and he looks lost. They have got to get him performing.”
Captain Aubameyang is another whose form has dropped off. There was talk that adding contractual security with a new deal in September contributed, but the team’s wider creative issues look to be the main cause.
Aubameyang threat has been nullified
Merson said of the Gabon international: “When Aubameyang is out on the wing, he can go 15 minutes without touching the ball.
“You can’t have your star player going that long without touching the ball. How many goals would Jamie Vardy get for Leicester if you played him out on the left wing? Not as many as he gets now, that’s for sure.
“Defences are starting to work him out. They are starting to nullify the threat from him from out wide and making life hard for him.
“They are stopping the cut inside and shot into the far corner. Something has got to change. At the moment, he’s not seeing enough of the ball where it matters.”
Arsenal return to action against Leeds on Sunday in what should be an intriguing encounter. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season.
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