Analysis

Willian laments disappointing defeat and prepares to fight for top four

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.’

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