Comparing Willian’s 2019-20 stats to Arsenal’s existing forwards

Quick Reads

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Willian on a three-year contract after the Brazilian left Chelsea.

The 31-year-old Brazilian winger has plenty of Premier League experience, making 234 appearances for the Blues since joining in 2013, scoring 37 goals. But what exactly will he bring to the party?

We’ve compared Willian’s Premier League stats from 2019-20 to the corresponding stats for Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson.

Goals and assists

Only Aubameyang and Lacazette scored more goals in the Premier League last season (22 and 10 respectively) than Willian (nine), while no Arsenal player registered more assists than his tally of seven.

With a combined 16 direct contributions to goals, only Aubameyang had a hand in more (22 goals and three assists).

In terms of their time on the pitch, Willian registered a goal or assist every 162.8 minutes, which was bettered only by Aubameyang (125.5 minutes) and Lacazette (134.1 minutes).

Here’s how those numbers compare to the rest of Arsenal’s attackers last season: Pepe: Five goals and six assists (one every 183.2 minutes), Nketiah: Two goals, no assists (316.5 minutes), Martinelli: Three goals, no assists (219 minutes), Saka: One goal and five assists (292.5 minutes), Nelson: One goal, no assists (628 minutes).

Passing and attacking

Willian was a fair bit more creative at Chelsea than those he’ll be competing with at the Emirates next season. In terms of chances created, Willian averaged 2.6 per 90 minutes, a fair bit more than Pepe (1.8), Nelson (1.3), Lacazette (1.2) and Saka (1.1) but especially Aubameyang (0.7) Nketiah (0.7) and Martinelli (0.3).

Arsenal man Nelson was the tidiest passer of the lot last term, averaging an 85.5% pass completion rate, with Willian just behind on 82.7%. The rest, in descending order, are as follows: (Saka 81.5%), Pepe (81.4%), Lacazette (76.4%), (Nketiah 75%), Aubameyang (72.2%), Martinelli (69.8%).

Pepe was the most prolific dribbler – 11th overall in the Premier League – with 3.2 successful dribbles per 90 minutes and a success rate of 54.2%. The Frenchman also became the first player in over 50 games to dribble past Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.

Willian didn’t complete quite as many dribbles (2.2 per 90) but was more successful with those he attempted, with a success rate of 54.2%.

Here’s the rest, for comparison: Lacazette: 1.2 dribbles per 90, 52.1% success, Aubameyang: 0.5 at 45.4%, Nketiah: 1.4 at 58.3%, Martinelli: 1.2 at 27.2%, Saka: 1.6 at 57.1%, Nelson: 2.4 at 52.1%.

Defensive contributions

It’s from a smaller sample size so ought to be taken with a pinch of salt, but Martinelli topped the chart in terms of tackles of these players. The young Brazilian averaged 2.7 per 90, while Saka was behind on 1.8 tackles averaged, likely thanks to operating as a full-back at times last season.

Willian averaged a respectable 1.6 tackles per 90, ahead of Pepe (1.4), Lacazette (1.5), Aubameyang (0.9), Nketiah 1.0 and equal to Nelson (1.6).

It’s all much of a muchness in terms of interceptions, with little to choose between them. Willian averaged marginally more (0.7) than the Arsenal lot: Pepe 0.4, Lacazette 0.3,  Aubameyang 0.4, Nketiah 0.3, Martinelli 0.4, Saka 0.6 and Nelson 0.4.

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