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Maurizio Sarri was Deciding Factor in Willian’s Blues Career

It’s no secret that a number of Antonio Conte’s relationships at Chelsea fell apart towards the back end of last season. David Luiz and Willian were the two main outcasts following Diego Costa’s argument-fuelled departure to Atletico 12 months ago. The latter was heavily linked to a summer move away with Manchester United and Barcelona reportedly interested but the Brazilian wideman has now said he will be a Blues player on September 1st.

Willian Warning for Barcelona Ahead of Camp Nou Clash

It would not be an exaggeration to call Willian Chelsea’s saviour at the moment.

The Brazilian winger, 29, has this uncanny ability to assume the mantle of Chelsea’s hero at the most opportune of times. It happened in 2015 as Chelsea attempted that lamentable defence of their Premier League title under Jose Mourinho. It was one of the most forgettable seasons in Chelsea’s history but Willian’s efforts helped to lend it some dignity.

The Blues’ title defence this time around is not nearly as bad but it has still been seriously wanting. Willian once again seems the player most ready to step up to the plate by delivering one inspiring performance after another. His goal against crystal palace was his fifth in as many games, bringing in season tally for Chelsea to 13. Only Eden Hazard has scored more this season, and Willian has never been more prolific since arriving at Stamford Bridge.

His stunning form has meant that a player who so often in the past had to settle for a place on the bench is now virtually undroppable.

Antonio Conte: Willian playing ‘fantastic’

The Chelsea boss may have preferred Pedro to Willian for most of the season so far but he was singing the number 22’s praises after the win over crystal palace.

“You can see that if a player stays in great form I’m the first to pick him in the starting XI,” Conte told his press conference. “Willian is playing in a fantastic way, but I want to underline, not only with the ball, also without the ball.

“He’s working very hard and he’s helping the team without the ball. He’s showing great maturity at this point of his career. In my heart I hope to see him at this level, to continue this performance. He’s playing very well with the ball, without the ball.

“It’s important to have balance within the game, because when we lose our balance it’s very difficult.”

This means that Willian is almost assured of his starting berth against Barcelona on Wednesday. If the speedster continues where you left off in the first leg of the tie, the likes of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti will certainly have something to think about at Camp Nou.

Chelsea’s number 22 could easily have had a hat trick in that game had the posts not been so kind to Barcelona (and suspiciously thicker).

Embed from Getty Images

Ahead of the game, the player himself has spoken of his joy in having secured his spot in Conte’s Starting XI. He told Chelsea FC’s magazine on Tuesday:

“I think you have to enjoy yourself on the pitch. To play football, you have to be happy. I have to enjoy this moment now. When you start to play more games, or when you play every match, you have confidence and things are good for you, then you can keep smiling.”

If William graces the Camp Nou pitch on Wednesday, as indeed he appears likely to, every Chelsea fan will have a reason to be optimistic.

Featured image: Twitter

Chelsea Must Retain Underrated and Consistent Willian

This season has become largely frustrating for those involved with Chelsea and has led to talk of changes being made in the near future. The club has failed to replicate the success of last term’s title-winning campaign, producing a largely mixed bag of results, including heavy defeats to the likes of AFC Bournemouth and Watford, whilst also putting in a solid performance against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Chelsea vs Southampton Preview: Blues Looking to Keep Strong Home Form Going

Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from defeat to rivals West Ham as they welcome an inconsistent Southampton side to Stamford Bridge. The Blues are 14 points behind Manchester City at the top of the league in what looks to be a mountain to climb to retain their Premier League title but their midweek win over Huddersfield will give Antonio Conte cause for optimism.

Huddersfield Town vs Chelsea: Blues Looking to Bounce Back in Yorkshire

Chelsea travel to Huddersfield for the inaugural Premier League meeting between the sides in what promises to be a stern test for Antonio Conte’s men. The Italian has bemoaned his team’s hectic schedule in recent weeks but with European progress now assured and the small matter of two matches against Barcelona to look forward to in the New Year, Chelsea need to focus on their domestic form if they are to maintain any sort of late charge towards regaining their Premier League title.

2018 World Cup Draw: How Chelsea Will Be Represented in Russia

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals draw was made last week at the Kremlin in Moscow, the main host city for the tournament next summer. The event saw all 32 teams placed into eight different groups. As one of Europe’s biggest sides, Chelsea will have a strong contingent of players on show in Russia. Blues players could feature in up to nine of the nations that will be competing next year and today, we take a look at them.