Willian: Chelsea’s Unnoticed Star


Have you ever been to a Broadway musical or an opera? When it is over, how often do you talk about the musical accompanist? Probably almost never. The point of a band or orchestra is to accentuate the beautiful voices, but never steal the show from the actors on stage.

When you’re playing on a team fighting for a championship, a team which is widely regarded as one of the top five clubs in the world, you would think that it is hard to go unnoticed, especially if you are regularly in the starting 11 for that club.

More from Chelsea FC

But for Chelsea Football Club, a team filled with so many stars, one man is making a significant impact, yet when the match is over, his name is rarely mentioned and analysts seem to forget about his contribution.

Chelsea has looked like the best team in the Premier League since the first week of the season. With the success of the club, many accolades have followed for Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic Eden Hazard and others. Chelsea is full of great footballers and each player is highly deserving of all the praise he receives.

But the name often forgotten by many is Willian. The 26-year-old Brazilian winger with his big fro looks like someone straight out of a 70’s TV show. But now in his second season with Chelsea, Willian is beginning to make a major impact for the title contenders.

In his 41 appearances for the Blues, Willian has only scored five goals. His lack of goal scoring may be the reason for his lack of praise, but it’s his unnoticed contributions which often lead to a Chelsea goal.

Whether he is leading a break away, taking a free kick, or sending a ball into the box from the wing, Willian’s impact, though it may not be talked about by the media, is being noticed by his teammates and manager.

From last season where he was often a substitute, Willian has been preferred this season by Jose Mourinho over players like Ramires and Andre Schurrle.

One reason the impact of Willan often goes unnoticed is because it is his play away from the ball which makes him so valuable.

Live Feed

Chelsea injury news: Most expensive midfielder is a doubt vs Aston Villa
Chelsea injury news: Most expensive midfielder is a doubt vs Aston Villa /

The Top Flight

  • Chelsea: Mauricio Pochettino mandates a "ridiculous offer" to sell defenderThe Top Flight
  • Premier League news: Sancho to Barca, Gallagher to Spurs, Chalobah to BayernFanSided
  • Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea player ratings: Abysmal, reckless, wastefulThe Pride of London
  • Bournemouth 0-0 Chelsea: 3 Blues talking pointsThe Pride of London
  • When should Chelsea start to panic about Mauricio Pochettino?The Top Flight
  • He will often run into the box from a wide position drawing in a defender or two alongside him. His movement then clears space for another player to take an open shot on goal.

    On top of his contributions to Chelsea’s attack, Willian is often the first midfielder to get back on defense when his team surrenders possession. It is often his high pressure which wins the ball back for Chelsea and allows them to continue their assault.

    No, Willian is not the one scoring goals like Diego Costa and he is not the one always assisting on goals like Cesc Fabregas, nor is he the one making longs runs directly at the defense like Eden Hazard, but he is making the plays necessary to give the other stars on the team a chance to shine.

    Next: Raheem Sterling Regaining Top Form

    His consistent pace and unrelenting presence is nothing short of annoying for any opposing player. He will not tire from running until his number is shown as a substitute or the match is over.

    Willian is not the sole reason Chelsea are the title favorites this season, but without his blue collar work ethic on the pitch, the stars of the show may not shine quite as bright. He is the musical accompanist who may go unnoticed, but without question, he plays a vital role in the overall performance.