Mikel Arteta has insisted that he was happy with Willian’s performance in an unfamiliar role during Arsenal’s defeat by Manchester City.
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as Arteta’s side went down 1-0 at Eastlands.
The Arsenal boss raised an eyebrow or two prior to kickoff when it was revealed that he had left Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah on the bench.
It was assumed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would spearhead the attack, but it transpired that Willian played in a false nine role.
The Brazilian offered plenty of running but he didn’t pose much threat to Pep Guardiola’s defence, prior to Arteta swapping him for Lacazette in the second half.
But Arteta is adamant that he is pleased with how the former Chelsea winger played.
He told Football London: “It was hard to leave two strikers on the bench but it was a tactical decision. In some moments it worked better than others, but he will grow and I’m happy with the game he had.”
Willian had a decent first couple of games in an Arsenal shirt following his Bosman move during the summer.
But it appears as if Arteta doesn’t really know what to do with him, evident by the fact he played in that false nine position tonight.
He’s a very talented player and one who can be an asset for the North Londoners, providing he’s used correctly.