When Chelsea swooped in and put up the £30 million necessary to steal Willian from out of the waiting grasp of Tottenham Hotspur, fans and opponents alike were left scratching their heads. After all, if there was one area of Chelsea's squad that needed strengthening, it was certainly not an attacking midfield that already contained Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and more.
After a few average performances, it was still quite difficult to understand what all the fuss was about. However, Willian eventually announced his Premier League arrival with an exceptional goal in a 3-1 win over Norwich City at the beginning of October. In fact, Willian's introduction was crucial in changing the game and securing the win for Chelsea.
Since then, Willian has started twice for Chelsea, in victories against Cardiff in the League and Arsenal in the Capital One Cup. Both were good performances, but despite some promising displays, he was still omitted from the starting line-up for the more high-profile games against Schalke in the Champions League and Manchester City in the Premier League. In the latter, however, he was introduced after 65 minutes and played a crucial role in Fernando Torres' winner.
It seems that no matter what Willian does—good or bad—he is unable to establish himself as a player that deserves a full 90 minutes in Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. But perhaps, he should.
Good performances might mean little when a team is performing as well as Chelsea has been, but in light of Saturday's shocking loss to Newcastle, it might just be the right time for Mourinho to put some faith in Willian.
During that Newcastle defeat, Chelsea looked tired, lacklustre and short on ideas. Willian looked sharp and innovative when he came on, as he has in his last few appearances, and he could really inject the sort of brilliance required to keep Chelsea's good form going.
The likes of Hazard, Oscar, and Schurrle have made up the core of Chelsea's attack so far this season, but as Saturday's result proved, a packed fixture list can soon make even the most brilliant of players look ordinary. Willian could be the man to shake things up, making this loss a small blip rather than the start of a bigger slump.