His goals and the milestones that accompanied them were of no consolation to Willian, who was as frustrated as anyone not to leave the London Stadium with at least a point.
The Brazilian had fired us ahead shortly before the interval with his second successful spot-kick in as many league games, but we were unable to hold onto that advantage for long. Tomas Soucek, who himself was denied the opener by a VAR decision, headed the Hammers level on the stroke of half-time.
Michael Antonio then completed the turnaround before Willian’s second goal of the night, an inch-perfect free-kick that has been a trademark of his in the past seven years. It was our no.10’s 10th goal of the season, and moved him into the top 10 of our all-time Premier League goalscorers with 36 goals.
But Andriy Yarmolenko’s 90th-minute breakaway effort condemned us to defeat, and with it a chance to leap above Leicester.
‘It’s very disappointing,’ lamented Willian. ‘The plan was to win the game and we missed a chance to go third. At least we have a game on Saturday to win at home. It’s not a time to complain. We have to win on Saturday.
‘We have to play every game as a final, and fight to get into the Champions League places.
‘We deserve to finish in the top four. Sometimes we have gone up and down, but I think we deserve to be there and we have to keep that position.’
Today’s goals, along with that penalty against West Ham, means Willian is the first player to score a goal in every month of the year.
‘I didn’t know about that! I’m happy with the goals, but when we’ve lost it’s a bit difficult. I feel very disappointed.
‘Now it’s time to rest well, recover well, and fight for the three points on Saturday.’