In the end, it was another disappointing defeat away at top six rival for Arsenal on Saturday evening.
The Gunners headed into the Premier League clash against Manchester City full of optimism, with three wins from four and presumably bouncing from their deadline day capture of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.
The new signing however had to make do with a place on the bench, but it was another summer arrival who really let Mikel Arteta down: Willian.
The Brazilian arrived on a free transfer from London rivals Chelsea, and after kick-starting life at the Emirates with a fabulous display against Fulham on the opening day when he picked up a couple of assists, things have slowed down considerably for him.
Against City, he was tasked with admittedly an unfamiliar role, playing as a withdrawn striker with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe lining up out wide.
The tactical tweak did Willian no favours, and for the large part of his 69 minutes on the pitch, he was just chasing shadows, caught in no-man’s land between pressing from the front, and dropping deep to collect the ball.
The game simply passed him by, and when you look at his underlying numbers, there’s no question that the former Chelsea man badly disappointed.
As per Sofascore, despite being the most advanced player in a central position, he made just 20 total passes in the entire game, recording 32 touches overall. To put that into context – and perhaps this is more of an indication about how Arsenal struggled creatively speaking to stitch patterns together in their passing – goalkeeper Bernd Leno saw the more 24 more times, with 56.
Willian also registered no shots on goal or dribbles whatsoever, whilst only two of his seven attempted crosses found its target. And if Arteta had positioned him in that false nine role to see him do his part defensively, then he let him down in that sense too, making no tackles or interceptions, and winning just one of three duels.
The Gunners needed their whole team to be fit and firing, but instead, one of their more experienced campaigners just didn’t turn up.