Graeme Souness slams Willian for ‘jogging’ in build-up to Everton’s opening goal against Arsenal

Willian looks on during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Everton
Willian was slammed by Graeme Souness for his part in Everton’s opening goal against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Graeme Souness has blasted Willian for his lackadaisical defending in the build-up to Rob Holding’s own-goal as Arsenal slumped to their seventh Premier League game without a win at Everton.

The Gunners, laguishing down in 15th place in the English top flight, will have been desperate to start positively after a miserable run of results but it was the Toffees who drew first blood and Carlo Ancelotti’s men held on to secure a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.

At first glance, it appeared Dominic Calvert-Lewin had scored his 12th goal of the league campaign in the 22nd minute but replays showed Arsenal defender Holding – standing in for the injured Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as captain on Saturday evening – got the last touch on the ball.

Rob Holding scores an own-goal in Arsenal's clash with Everton
Arsenal’s stand-in captain fired into his own net in the 22nd minute (Picture: Getty)

Nicolas Pepe equalised from the penalty spot in the 35th minute but Yerry Mina’s powerful header estored Everton’s lead right on half-time and the hosts kept hold of their advantage to secure all three points and move up to second in the table.

Discussing Everton’s opener during Sky Sports’ half-time analysis, Souness pointed the finger of blame at Willian for ‘jogging’ and failing to put pressure on Everton’s Tom Davies in the moments before Holding fired into his own net.

‘I want to highlight Willian here. You’re looking to stop it,’ the ex-Liverpool and Scotland midfielder said.

‘It comes into Tom Davies, who ends up finding Alex Iwobi.

‘Sprint back please, sprint back! You’ve got a job to do defensively, Willian!

‘Try and stop the cross, Willian, but he goes: “Oh, I’ll just jog towards him!”’

Willian jogged back as Davies received the ball in the middle of the park (Picture: RMC)
Willian jogged back as Davies received the ball in the middle of the park (Picture: RMC)

Souness said Arsenal’s defending – or lack of – in the opening 45 minutes proved they are ‘in trouble’ as ‘top teams don’t concede goals’ with such ease.

He added: ‘When you’re defending, every player should be defending with their lives.

‘This tells you that Arsenal are in trouble defensively and will continue to be in trouble defensively because the second goal highlights it again.

‘It’s so avoidable. Top teams don’t concede goals like that.’

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