Willian proved with his debut performance against Fulham just why Arsenal were so keen to sign him from Chelsea, according to team-mate Rob Holding.
The Brazil international joined Arsenal on a three-year deal last month after his Chelsea contract expired and made a big impact in his first Premier League outing for the club.
He set up fellow debutant Gabriel and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the Gunners’ second and third goals at Craven Cottage after Alexandre Lacazette’s early opener.
In doing so, Willian became the first player to assist two goals on his Premier League debut for Arsenal since Ray Parlour in August 1992 against Liverpool.
Holding was impressed by what he saw from the winger in Arsenal’s opening day 3-0 win, while also reserving praise for fellow new recruit Gabriel, who made a difference at both ends.
“I know Willian from when we’ve played Chelsea,” Holding told the Evening Standard. “I know he’s got all the ability so it’s nice to have him in your team.
“He proved [against Fulham] why we signed him and Gabriel was also solid as a rock. He won everything aerially and finished off with a nice goal as well.”
Arsenal ended last season by winning the FA Cup and have picked up from where they left off, beating Liverpool in the Community Shield before their weekend triumph.
Holding played a full part in all three of those games and is hopeful of keeping that positive momentum going under first-team manager Mikel Arteta.
To win with the clean sheet is always nice,” he said. “We wanted to make a little bit of a statement in the first game of the season.
“The first one to kick us off. Other teams will have been watching and seen the result before they went in, so to get a good 3-0 win away from home is a good start.
“Finishing the season with a trophy and starting this one with the Community Shield win… we’ve got a load of confidence coming in and now we want to have a good run and go for it.”