Frank Lampard and Chelsea have been all about giving youth a chance. Following their transfer ban, the former big-spenders have been forced to promote youngsters rather than splash the cash.
Academy products Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and recently Reece James have all established themselves as first-team regulars under Lampard and the Blues are reaping the rewards – online casino bitcoincasino.io have Lampard’s team well priced to achieve Champions League qualification again this season.
Chelsea’s frontline usually comprises of the 20-year-old Mount playing behind the 22-year-old Abraham with 21-year-old Christian Pulisic on the left and the experienced Willian on the right.
Willian is one of those senior players excelling under Lampard. The Brazilian has established himself as the senior forward in Chelsea’s XI. He’s featured in 15 of Chelsea’s 16 Premier League matches this campaign, starting 11 of them, scoring twice and assisting three times as per Whoscored.
And he’s producing it all despite just seven months remaining on his contract. Willian’s time at Chelsea had been characterized by moments of brilliance entwined with lengthy periods of absence on the football pitch. His talent has seen him hang around west London since arriving from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013 for £30m.
It’s telling that his most productive campaign at the club came in 2015/16 when he scored 11 goals as defending champions Chelsea slumped to a 10th-place finish in the Premier League. Though he’s always been among Chelsea’s best ball-carriers, the Brazilian has stepped up his efficiency this season.
Willian’s 72% dribble success rate is the highest in his six seasons in London and he is also averaging a foul won per match as per Whoscored.
In the Champions League group stage, only Lionel Messi completed more take-ons than Willian as swell.
Only three players completed 20+ take-ons in the 2019/20 Champions League group stage:
• Lionel Messi
• Mateo Kovačić
Messi way out in front of the Chelsea duo. pic.twitter.com/lMt6rx1IuY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 12, 2019
Since 2013, Willian has stepped up his game when faced with new challenges and fresh competition. He may be 31 now but he’s been in scintillating form since recovering from a hamstring injury. Frank Lampard’s methods and tactics have helped him thrive up top.
After a couple of underwhelming campaigns, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s presence appeared to make things tough for him initially.
That view was only reinforced when Willian was left on the bench for four of Chelsea’s first five competitive fixtures under Lampard. He missed the shocking opening-day defeat at Manchester United with a hamstring injury.
It wasn’t until September 14th and the 5-2 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers that Willian finally completed 90 minutes in the Premier League. He hasn’t looked back since, starting every league and Champions League fixture.
In a young squad, Willian is one of the few players over 30 and one of the even fewer who shared a dressing room with Lampard as a player. Flighty players might not be the traditional pick for the armband but the Brazilian has revelled in his role as a senior figure in the dressing room this season.
In the Premier League, Willian has managed 2.98 shots and 0.83 crosses per game so far. He has also been magnificent in the dribbling department and has averaged 1.9 dribbles per 90 minutes via Whoscored. Generally, his work-rate has improved too.
Willian, on the whole, has thrived under new management and it could hand Lampard a re-think for Chelsea to retain him for the foreseeable future.