Chelsea fans react on Twitter to Willian debut in Champions League defeat

Chelsea's £30m man Willian was handed his debut in the surprise Champions League defeat to Basel.

Chelsea fans celebrated the arrival of Willian for the amusement it gave them to get one over on Tottenham, who thought they had secured the player.

But underneath the laughter, there was a hint of worry and bemusement; do Chelsea really need another attacking midfielder? What does this mean for fan favourite Juan Mata?

After returning to the side in the weekend's defeat to Everton, Mata was left on the bench again and Willian handed a debut.

It was not his first Champions League outing at Stamford Bridge, last season Willian played and scored at the ground for Shakhtar Donetsk, one of the standout players as his side lost 3-2.

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Last night he was not as productive, despite some nice flicks and attempts to make things happen, he found himself substituted after 67 minutes for Mata - although it should be noted at that stage Chelsea were 1-0 up.

Willian will no doubt be disappointed that he did not register a single effort on goal, the only midfielder apart from fellow new boy Marco van Ginkel to be so shot shy.

He made just 29 passes, but did so with a 90 per cent completion rate, with just one pass in the defensive third of the pitch.

However one frustrating aspect of his display was his crossing. Willian made five crossing attempts all from the right-hand side yet did not find a teammate with a single one.

Defensively there was very little to note. One tackle, no interceptions and no clearances, and while from an attacking perspective there were two successful dribbles, these both led to failed crossing attempts.

The Brazilian did not provide any goalscoring opportunities in the form of key passes, although it should be noted it was not for the want of trying, he made the same amount of forward passes as Frank Lampard (11).

And of course it should be noted that some of his trickery and sublime flicks cannot be measured by pure stats, but eyesight alone and the excitement factor it brings to fans.

All of the above, positive and negative, should be placed into the context that it was his first game for the club in a pressured game, and jumping to criticise him will not help, especially if it is weighted with emotion and frustration regarding Mata being left out.

To see what fans were saying after his debut, we collated a snapshot of opinion via twitter with regard to his performance:

What did you think of Willian's debut? Will he prove to be a good signing?

image: © Tom Cuppens

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