There is confident talk from Willian ahead of today’s away game at Arsenal. The Brazilian thinks the Blues can match the level of performance produced when beating Tottenham in their new stadium a week ago.
Since then Southampton have left Stamford Bridge with three points but Chelsea fans will prefer to forget that and other recent home league games and focus on what can be achieved if the 2-0 win at Spurs is anything to go by.
Willian was the outstanding player that day among many top-level showings and now he looks forward to testing himself against Arsenal.
‘A derby is a derby, when you play against these sort of teams everyone stops to watch these games,’ he says, ‘but we have to go with the same mentality every game, not only against big teams.
‘This season we did not win against Man City, Man United and Liverpool and we played these games very well. But we didn’t win and finally we won against Spurs and now we have to go with the same mentality against Arsenal.
‘We have to think about us, how we are going to play and how we are going to press them and how we are going to do the things inside the pitch. Of course Arsenal have a good team with a new manager now. They will change everything but we have to think about us and how we are going to play. Like we did against Tottenham, we can do against Arsenal as well.’
Although Willian says it will take time to see for sure, he expects Arsenal under new boss Mikel Arteta to, in the long run, try to play like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
‘Arteta was there three or four years with Guardiola and he learn a lot, I am sure of that,’ he adds, ‘so I think Arsenal can improve a lot.’
Whether that improvement is enough to push towards a Champions League qualification position this season remains to be seen but that race for the top-four spots will come increasingly into focus as the second half of the season progresses, with Chelsea the team currently fourth.
‘I think we are doing a good job,’ says Willian of the season so far. ‘Of course there is some up and down, up and down, and we have always to try to improve ourselves, and that is what we look for.
‘In the Premier League it [the race for the Champions League places] is always difficult until the end, we know that. We have to fight in every game because we know how it is to play in the Premier League. You play against small teams and sometimes you lose and it is difficult so you have to be ready.’
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