Arsenal have been sent a warning by club legend Alan Smith over Willian despite his improved form.

The Brazil international was signed on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer and was initially hailed as a real coup for Mikel Arteta.

But some horrendous form saw fans turn on the forward while he was dropped from the first-team with Bukayo Saka outshining his more senior team-mate.

With the 32-year-old just half a season into a three-year contract, fans were beginning to regret the transfer.

However, in recent weeks the veteran star has battled back his critics with some stellar performances against Benfica and Leicester.

Willian put in a fine performance against Leicester

But former Arsenal striker Smith has told Arteta to stick to his guns over the young stars, Saka included, despite Willian's resurgence.

He told the Evening Standard : "We have to thank the youngsters for leading the charge.

"Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and more recently Martin Odegaard have injected fresh legs and ideas into Arsenal’s game.

"Without them, especially Saka, the team may have kept on sinking towards murky waters.

"But now some senior players need to take the strain, to give the kids a rest from providing the impetus.

Alan Smith has warned against Willian's late resurgence

"Inexperience leads to dips. It’s a natural part of development. Sooner or later form will suffer a bit, as seen for a short spell with Smith Rowe.

"Because of that, Mikel Arteta must have been delighted to see Willian perk up at Leicester last week.

"A long time coming, perhaps, but this was more like it from the former Chelsea man. He looked sharp and invigorated as if he’d had enough of being labelled a flop.

"I was beginning to give up on the Brazilian. I thought he’d come for the ride rather than the responsibility of helping hoist this side onto a higher plane.

"And that might still be the case. One lively display doesn’t answer many questions."