Troy Deeney believes Arsenal's Willian is being unfairly treated and thinks his teammate Nicolas Pepe deserves more criticism than the Brazilian winger.
Willian was snapped up by the Gunners in the summer after his contract with Chelsea expired.
But the 32-year-old has so far failed to score in 13 Premier League appearances and has created just three assists, with his attitude also regularly being questioned by the Arsenal fanbase.
However, speaking to talkSPORT Deeney defended Willian – and stated his belief that Pepe, who himself has managed just two goals in the league, is the one who should shoulder more of the responsibility.
"Everyone will say, ‘he [Willian] hasn’t moved far’, because it’s Arsenal and Chelsea, they’re both in London, but it’s a new environment with different people," Deeney said.
"When he was at Chelsea was he the main man? Probably not. Was there a lot of expectation? Probably not.
"Now he’s gone in there and they’re expecting him to deliver a mentality that he may not be able to do.
"What’s happened is he’s started taking the kicking that Pepe deserves.
"Pepe has been there longer than him; there was a lot of money spent on him and he hasn’t really delivered over the course of the time."
Deeney also compared Willian to former Manchester United flop Juan Sebastian Veron, added: "Listen, there have been unbelievable quality players that have been in the Premier League and it hasn’t clicked.
"I remember Veron going to Man United; an unbelievable player, but it never quite clicked for him.
"I do think you look at your [Joe] Willocks and your [Reiss] Nelsons, they can come in and come out because they’re young and don’t have an expectation.
"We’ve already created an expectation [for Pepe and Willian]; it comes with the money and the wages these players are reportedly on, that we go, ‘you’ve got to deliver’.
"But all in all, they play for the same team and they’re trying to get the same starting berth.
"So the expectation has to go all the way around, but as we know in this game, the older lads get [criticism] a bit."
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