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Mikel Arteta praises ‘game-changer’ Willian and names three players who stepped up in Arsenal’s win over Leicester City


The Brazilian is now Arsenal’s leading assister this season (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised Willian for overcoming a difficult period in his career and feels the Brazilian along with three more senior players really stepped up against Leicester City.

Fresh from progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League in midweek, the Gunners faced a difficult trip to the King Power Stadium and found themselves behind early on after a strike from Youri Tielemans.

But they rallied quickly and went into half-time with the lead; David Luiz levelled the scores, nodding home a cross from Willian, and then Alexandre Lacazette netted from the penalty spot.

Willian had a hand in two of Arsenal’s three goals against Leicester (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal added a third near the start of the second half, with Willian teeing up Nicolas Pepe for an easy tap-in, and they saw out the match comfortably to secure a 3-1 victory.

Willian has had a difficult time lately but is now Arsenal’s leading assister with five this season and Arteta was delighted with the ex-Chelsea man, while he lauded three more of the side’s senior players: Lacazette, Pepe and Granit Xhaka.

Asked about Willian’s return to form, Arteta said: ‘Yeah he was really good and we have seen that in training in the last few weeks.

‘I think he is revealing himself, he is not accepting the situation.

‘I thought he was the player that changed the game against Benfica in the last few moments when he came on and today I think it was a repeat.

‘And the same for all the senior players, Laca, I think the way he played, Nico, he grew in the game and he had a big impact as well.

‘And Granit. I think a player that has played that many minutes, to play with the heart and the passion that he showed in every action, I think it’s a good example for the rest of the players.’

Xhaka was another player who impressed Arteta enormously (Picture: Getty Images)

On Xhaka he continued: ‘You see him. If you have to put an example on that pitch about character, about going to every single ball with that determination, probably it’s him.

‘He’s played more minutes than anybody else but he keeps going even when he’s so tired and tries to help the team in the right way.

‘The same for David Luiz. David, for someone like him at his age, to play again after the game we had against Benfica, it was tough. But they showed their real attitude, they wanted to play and be involved and that’s the best way to approach every game.’


MORE :
Mikel Arteta provides Emile Smith Rowe injury update after Arsenal’s win against Leicester City


MORE : Martin Keown claims Willian is in ‘mourning’ after leaving Chelsea for Arsenal

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