Chelsea hero Tony Cascarino has disagreed with Mikel Arteta’s assessment of out-of-form winger Willian after the Arsenal star put in another poor display against Newcastle on Saturday. Arsenal won 2-0 in the FA Cup thanks to goals from Emile Smith-Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Willian is still struggling to settle at Arsenal after his free transfer move last summer.
The Brazilian winger signed a three-year contract worth a reported £220,000-per-week, a deal that didn’t go down too well in north London considering his age.
Willian hasn’t been able to repay Arsenal’s faith in him so far, however, and has failed to hit the ground running at the Emirates.
He provided two assists in the first game of the season against Fulham, but has only been able to set up one other goal – coming in a 2-1 defeat against Wolves in November.
Arsenal boss Arteta has defended the Brazilian against criticism, and insists he’s still improving.
He stated that Willian is still showing desire to improve and become a leading figure in the first-team.
“Well, I think he was improving and improving,” Arteta stated.
“The other he day he came on really well against West Brom.
“He’s been out as well because he was ill, so he’s missed almost two weeks of training and football and today it was the first time that he started the game.
“He had some good moments and he had some other moments where he needed more help sometimes and some decisions weren’t the best.
“But we’re going to keep trying with him. He’s showing in training how much he wants it.”
But Cascarino disagreed with Arteta, and compared him to a young prospect who is too nervous to play in the first team.
Speaking to talkSPORT, he questioned how the 32-year-old could be struggling for form as much as he is considering the amount of time he’s spent in the Premier League.
“He’s playing so poorly for a player who’s achieved as much as he has,” Cascarino said.
“How do you question a player with so much experience and won a lot in the game and played at a very high level, that plays as poorly as that?
“He’s like a young lad who’s come into the team, who looks nervous and edgy.”