Why Hector Bellerin has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season
Hector Bellerin is proving a lot his critics wrong. He has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers this season.
Bellerin comes under a lot of unwarranted criticism. Perhaps, people should actually look at the task he is faced with before passing over the top judgements. He has had little or no support from the right hand side. We basically played Henrikh Mkhitaryan/Mesut Ozil in most of the games on that side. They both like drifting in. Tracking opposing wide men isn’t their greatest strength. Bellerin has filled in admirably. Many a time, he gets isolated on the right hand side but the quality of the player is so high, that he is doing the job of 2 players.
One aspect of Bellerin’s game is going forward, which he does throughout the 90 minutes. Unai Emery wants his full backs to play as high up the pitch as possible and Bellerin ends up getting into advanced areas very often. He has already provided an impressive 4 assists. I expect him to finish this season with a couple of goals and over 8 assists. Lot of wingers cannot manage this. That’s how well he is playing. He has vastly improved his crossing and is really efficient for a right back when it comes to final third passes. Take a look at Aubmeyang’s second goal against Leicester for example. His pass to Lacazette, which Ozil dummies, is top notch. He has played multiple times for Arsenal’s youth team as a central midfielder which could explain his eye for a pass. His passing quality is highly underrated.
Defensively, Bellerin might look unconvincing to some. But for me, he has done just fine. He tracks back really well and sometimes, he has just too much on his plate. Against City for example, he had Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy to deal with, having little or no support from Ozil who was playing on the right hand side. I don’t expect Ozil to track back, because he’s a NO.10 and not a winger. The closest we have to a winger is Alex Iwobi and in those couple of games he played on the right, Bellerin’s defending looks really good. Not a coincidence.
It is very important for Arsenal fans to consider the mammoth task that Bellerin is faced with. I have no doubt that he is one of the best right backs in Europe currently. Emery really likes him and I’m sure his game will go up another level in the coming years.