Willian is coming down to the final few months of his contract at Chelsea. In normal circumstances, he’d likely be playing his final three months of the season, before departing for greener pastures in July.
However, due to the global sporting stoppage as a result of the new Coronavirus, Willian, and countless other players may face a situation where their contracts will run out as leagues are trying to finish the current season. According to Willian, he has no problem with that.
“I want to finish the (season) and be loyal to the club, like they did with me,” Willian said in an interview from home with Esporte Interativo. “As always, I am ready to give the best for my team, whatever my contractual situation, even for free.”
UEFA is reportedly currently considering different options as leagues hope to restart in the future once the spread of the virus is contained. The best case scenario is to finish by June 30, when most contracts in Europe expire, but there could also be the possibility of extending contracts to July 31 or August 31.
It’s a big ethical issue for most players. If their contract is set to run out, or it does in the run up to finishing their season, do they have any motivation to play hard, or play at all? What if the player has been offered a pre-contract at another club, and doesn’t want to lose that opportunity? It’s a huge legal quandary that UEFA and the European leagues will have to handle, if we can even resume the leagues in the first place.
In any case, though, it looks as though Willian is happy to put off a future contract to stay with Chelsea and lead them into a top four position yet again.
In other related news, Willian has reportedly asked Chelsea to go to Brazil to be with his family. The 31-year-old winger has been in quarantine along with the rest of the Chelsea squad for the past week, but with the league now being suspended through at least the end of April, Willian has asked the club if he can leave to return home to spend time with his family.
It’s unclear whether he’d be approved of that request, and the health impacts of his departure. Will he have to be quarantined upon arrival in Brazil, and then return to London in a month or two? There’s plenty of questions that have few answers.
With Liverpool so close to its first Premier League title, uneven giants battling for European places, and three clubs tied for 18th place on the table, well, we needed somewhere to turn.
We went with FIFA20 to see how the table will play out, who will claim the FA Cup, and which Premier League sides might thrive in the Champions League and Europa League.
Let’s follow the path, starting with two postponed matches.
Postponed matches: City pulls back within 22 points of Liverpool, as Mikel Arteta doesn’t come close to outfoxing his old boss Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Mbwana Samatta strikes late to steal a point for Villa and pull them within a point of West Ham, Watford, and Bournemouth.
Man City 4-1 Arsenal Villa 1-1 Sheffield United
Matchday 30: A historic kind of day, as Man City is the only host to win a match. Spurs’ Jose Mourinho gets a draw versus Man Utd, while Liverpool crushes Everton behind a Sadio Mane hat trick.
Norwich City 0-0 Saints West Ham 0-1 Wolves Bournemouth 2-2 Palace Brighton 1-2 Arsenal Everton 1-3 Liverpool Spurs 1-1 Man Utd Villa 0-2 Chelsea Watford 1-2 Leicester City Newcastle 1-1 Sheffield United Man City 2-0 Burnley
Matchday 31: Arsenal moves four points clear of Spurs, who fall to an inspired West Ham. The Irons pull out of the drop zone… for good.
Newcastle 2-0 Villa Burnley 0-0 Watford Wolves 2-1 Bournemouth Liverpool 2-0 Palace Leicester City 3-0 Brighton Norwich City 1-1 Everton Spurs 0-2 West Ham Southampton 1-3 Arsenal Man Utd 3-0 Sheff Utd Chelsea 2-4 Man City
Matchday 32: Liverpool wins the league in stunning style. A draw is all the Reds need to take the trophy. Raheem Sterling gives City a 1-0 lead in the first half, only to see a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick supply the league-winning point.
Nigel Pearson‘s Hornets move out of the drop zone with 31 points.
West Ham 1-2 Chelsea Arsenal 4-1 Norwich Everton 1-0 Leicester City Palace 2-0 Burnley Brighton 1-5 Man Utd Bournemouth 0-3 Newcastle Watford 2-1 Saints Man City 1-1 Liverpool Sheffield United 1-2 Spurs Villa 0-4 Wolves
Matchday 33: Norwich City gets within a win of Brighton by beating them at home behind an Emi Buendia penalty. Arsenal draws Wolves to pull within three points of the top five.
Burnley 2-1 Sheff Utd Leicester City 2-2 Palace Saints 1-5 Man City Spurs 0-3 Everton Wolves 1-1 Arsenal Liverpool 4-0 Villa Norwich 2-1 Brighton Newcastle 2-2 West Ham Man Utd 0-0 Bournemouth Chelsea 4-0 Watford
Matchday 34: It’s getting congested in the top four, with third-place Leicester winless in four following a loss at Arsenal. Palace draws Chelsea, allowing victorious Wolves and Manchester United to pull within two points of fourth.
Norwich City wins again, passing Aston Villa and joining 18th-place Brighton on 29 points.
Sheffield United 0-2 Wolves Watford 1-2 Norwich City West Ham 4-1 Burnley Bournemouth 2-0 Spurs Everton 2-2 Saints Man City 3-1 Newcastle Palace 0-0 Chelsea Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City Brighton 0-2 Liverpool Villa 0-2 Man Utd
Matchday 35: Sheffield United snaps a four-match losing streak with a draw against Chelsea, but the top seven hopes are dead.
Burnley takes a point at Anfield as City moves back within 20 of the Reds.
Brighton 1-4 Man City Norwich City 1-2 West Ham Villa 1-1 Palace Watford 2-3 Newcastle Wolves 2-1 Everton Spurs 0-2 Arsenal Sheffield United 1-1 Chelsea Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester City Man Utd 2-1 Southampton Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Matchday 36: Villa surprises Everton to move within a result of safety in a five-horse race to avoid the drop. Chelsea, Manchester United, and Wolves all win to hit the 62-point mark, two back of third-place Leicester City.
Leicester City 0-0 Sheffield United Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool Everton 1-2 Villa Man City 3-0 Bournemouth Newcastle 0-4 Spurs Burnley 0-2 Wolves Chelsea 3-0 Norwich City West Ham 2-0 Watford Palace 0-2 Man Utd Saints 1-1 Brighton
Matchday 37: All of the top five combatants stumble except Wolves, who jump into third with a win over Crystal Palace at the Molineux.
Spurs 2-0 Leicester City Wolves 2-0 Palace Brighton 0-4 Newcastle Bournemouth 0-3 Southampton Villa 0-3 Arsenal Sheffield United 0-3 Everton Norwich City 0-2 Burnley Man Utd 1-1 West Ham Watford 1-3 Man City Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Matchday 38: Talk about a dramatic final day, all things considered!
Manchester United gets a leaping Bruno Fernandes penalty to send Leicester City tumbling into sixth despite most of the season in the top three! The Red Devils climb into third because of what happens at Stamford Bridge.
Hosts Chelsea need a win over Wolves to take back fourth, as the visitors enter the day three points ahead with a one-goal advantage in differential. Christian Pulisic sets up a Willian winner to give Chelsea fourth by virtue of total wins (19).
Liverpool takes the league with a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle at St. James’ Park, completing the season with a 20-point advantage on Man City. Arsenal completes the European picture, havng been settled in seventh for some time.
The relegation scene is pretty nuts, with five teams finishing the day within three points of the bottom. All five lose, with Bournemouth and Watford staying up despite season-ending losing streaks. Nigel Pearson’s Hornets finish the season with 31 points, the same total they had after Matchday 32.
Arsenal 3-0 Watford Burnley 2-1 Brighton Chelsea 1-0 Wolves Palace 2-1 Spurs Everton 3-0 Bournemouth Leicester City 0-1 Man Utd Man City 1-0 Norwich City Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool Saints 3-1 Sheffield United West Ham 3-1 Villa
Europa League: Manchester United gave Roma permission to use loanee Chris Smalling, and the defender powers a 13th-minute header home that stands until Anthony Martial delivers a goal three minutes from time. David De Gea is the star in penalty kicks, as United wins 4-3.
UEFA Champions League: Pep Guardiola leads Man City into its final UCL game for two seasons, and it’s against his old pals Barcelona. Quique Setien’s side flusters City’s attack, and Lionel Messi wins it at the hour mark for the Blaugranas.
Now Barca is said to be prepared to meet that clause in order to land Martinez.
Football-Espana says that a cash-plus-player deal is the other option. Barca would be willing to send Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic, while Antonio Conte would prefer Nelson Semedo or Arthur.
Signing the 22-year-old Argentine could help sate the concern of countryman Lionel Messi, who’s watched Barca fail to provide him adequate reinforcements as Real Madrid stockpiled young talent. Messi was reportedly disappointed that the Blaugranas failed to pony up for Neymar this summer.
Martinez has 16 goals and four assists in 31 matches this season, including a goal against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
He’s Inter’s second-leading scorer behind Romelu Lukaku, and the Serie A side has nine points insulation on the UCL chasing pack with a match-in-hand.
Speaking to the media after the game, Frank Lampard praised the focus of his team after a great week which saw them beat Liverpool in the FA Cup on Wednesday and then dish out a pasting to Everton to cement their spot in the top four.
“The whole attitude and focus of the team felt really strong today after Liverpool. There was pure focus in the group. Maybe the injuries helped out in that respect. The application was spot on. Now we have to work to show we can finish the season strongly,” Lampard said.
Lampard described the win as Chelsea’s ‘most complete’ home display of the season as they kept a clean sheet and for once finished off many of the chances they created. In truth a 6-0 scoreline wouldn’t have flattered them as Olivier Giroud held the ball up superbly and the likes of Billy Gilmour, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Pedro and Willian were always threats breaking from midfield.
Chelsea are now five points clear of fifth-place Wolves with nine games of the season to go and finishing in the top four would be a magnificent achievement for Lampard and his young side given their transfer ban for the first half of the season, injuries hitting them hard and a huge dip in form over the last few months.
The most impressive thing about this pivotal week for Chelsea has been their hunger and desire to win the ball back and make runs into the final third. With injuries to Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Mateo Kovacic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Lampard has been forced to shuffle his pack and it has resulted in increased intensity in Chelsea’s display.
The aforementioned quartet may struggle to get back in this Chelsea team when they are fit as Lampard has found a formula which works. With tough games against Liverpool and Man City remaining in their last nine games, the other seven look winnable and Chelsea’s youngsters look rejuvenated.
With the win, their biggest in the Premier League under Lampard, Chelsea opened up a five-point gap to fifth-place Wolves and are now just two points off Leicester who are in third place. Everton are in 12th place on 37 points.
3 things we learned
1. Chelsea’s defensive work ethic the difference: Buoyed by their midweek FA Cup win against Liverpool, Chelsea were flying from the start and never let up. Going forward they ripped Everton apart but one of the most impressive things about this display was how hard they worked to win the ball back. Injuries have hit them hard but the so-called ‘second string’ players performed well and their hunger and desire to make the most of slip ups by Wolves and Spurs this weekend spurred them on to cement their place in the top four. Champions League qualification for this young side under Lampard would be a fine season, especially after their considerable slump over the last few months.
2. Giroud, Gilmour make everything tick: Billy Gilmour was starting his first Premier League game and is 18 years old. It looked like it was his 200th PL game and he was 30. The “Irn-Bru Iniesta” has taken his chance with Kovacic injured and Jorginho suspended and he has shown Lampard he can do it in back-to-back games against Liverpool and Everton. As for Giroud, well, he scored and was influential in the attacking unit as his hold-up play knitted the attack together. Without so many first-choice players, Gilmour and Giroud made sure everything went very smoothly for Chelsea.
3. Everton shambolic: Chelsea were very good but Everton were woeful. Carlo Ancelotti had a face like thunder on the sidelines throughout as the Toffees stood off Chelsea, gave them too much respect and didn’t deserve anything. They are still in the battle for the Europa League spots but any faint hopes they had of pushing themselves into the Champions League places are now gone. This was a reality check for Everton who weren’t nasty enough to disrupt Chelsea’s rhythm.
Man of the Match: Billy Gilmour – The Scottish midfielder had the most touches on the pitch and look so calm and assured in possession. A star in the making. Willian also played extremely well but Gilmour gets the nod.
Chelsea came flying out of the traps and Mount fired a superb volley just wide as Everton couldn’t handle the pace of the Blues attack.
Moments later Mount scored a fine goal as he controlled, turned and finish all in one motion to send Stamford Bridge wild as the 21-year-old scored his first goal since Dec. 4.
Wave after wave of Chelsea attack then arrived as Willian was set free but his low drive was denied by Jordan Pickford but Everton didn’t learn their lesson.
Giroud held up the ball and played it back to Barkley who sent a perfect through ball to Pedro who was clean through and finished with ease to give Chelsea a deserved 2-0 lead.
Moments later Everton were almost gifted a way back into the game as Kurt Zouma was caught in possession by Richarlison who teed up Calvert-Lewin but the in-form striker clipped the ball wide of the post as a great chance came and went for the Toffees.