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Ian Wright urges Arteta not to pick ‘negative’ Arsenal player against Spurs this weekend

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has urged Gunners boss Mikel Arteta to look at other options on the right side of attack instead of Willian this weekend.

The 32-year-old arrived at the Emirates Stadium to much fanfare in the summer, signing a three-year deal reportedly worth £220,000-a-week after leaving Chelsea on a free transfer.

Willian hit the ground running in his first competitive game for Arsenal, registering two assists and putting in a man-of-the-match display in the Premier League opener at Fulham.

Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

However, most of his performances since that game have been average at best – Whoscored gave him 8.35 against the Cottagers but he’s yet to go beyond a 7 since then.

Wright thinks Willian’s displays have been somewhat “negative” in recent weeks and would like to see Reiss Nelson or Bukayo Saka potentially considered in his place against Tottenham.

“I’d try to throw something else into the mix, Reiss Nelson or even Saka on the right,’ he said on Wrighty’s House podcast.

“But Saka’s going to be on the left so I’d put Reiss Nelson on the right instead of Willian because we know what Willian’s going to do.

“For me he’s been a little bit negative with the way he’s been playing, a lot of backwards passing. You need somebody who can at least get back and progress the ball.

“If Saka can go and really put pressure on [Serge] Aurier, that’s where I think if we’re going to get any kind of joy then I think Saka’s got to go up there and put pressure on him.

“Then [Granit] Xhaka can pull in on the left, just to put that body in there then [Mohamed] Elneny should hold.”

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While Willian’s display against Wolves was still short of his best, it was much improved as he got the assist for Gabriel’s goal and looked the most likely to create before he was withdrawn.

It mattered little in the end, however, as Arsenal fell to a 2-1 defeat – their third league game in a row without a win – which left them a lowly 14th in the table.

Willian is not the only Gunners player in poor form right now, but with one of the toughest North London derbies in recent years coming up and Nicolas Pepe suspended, Arteta should probably consider someone else in the Brazilian’s place.

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