Just how important has Bellerin become to Arsenal?
Sometimes in football player’s progress at a good pace, sometimes they progress even quicker and in the case of Hector Bellerin they progress at a similar pace to our young Spanish right backs sprint speed – just to be clear that’s rather quick.
If we cast our minds back to around about this time last year we saw a young Bellerin lacing up his boots for what was to be a rather nightmarish debut as Arsenal put in a pathetic defensive display during a 2-0 loss away to Borussia Dortmund. The foreseeable future seemed bleak for young Hector as his performance seemed to suggest that he desperately needed a loan or was just simply not cut out for the first team at his tender age.
Fast forward 12 months and the picture could not have altered anymore, long gone seem the days of a naïve teenager plaguing our right hand side and now we see a player who has matured into the ideal modern day full-back.
Arsene Wenger’s biggest talent is nurturing players from within the academy but even he could not have predicted such a meteoric rise and now he is left with a player who is one of the most important cogs in his new Arsenal machine.
Debuchy should be worried
Mathieu Debuchy seemed the ideal signing to replace the departing Bacary Sagna in 2014, he was a full French international, had collected some vital Premier League pedigree during his time at Newcastle and came at a reasonable price – considering the current financial climate.
Unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out for Debuchy, long term injuries sustained against Manchester City and Stoke last season hindered his season immeasurably and allowed the young Bellerin to usurp the experienced Frenchmen.
Bellerin’s impact upon the side is different to that of Debuchy, he seems to bring natural width to the side acting as almost an extra attacking winger making himself an essential offensive weapon which this Arsenal side so desperately crave.
Our opening game against West Ham was for me enough proof of how vital Bellerin has become, Debuchy struggled to establish the same width and what we saw were Arsenal attacks constantly stagnating in the middle of the park. Not that the 2-0 win was Debuchy’s fault but his limitations were made more obvious because of Bellerin’s recent excellence.
Debuchy’s role in the squad has most certainly been demoted, recent articles have even quoted him as saying he considered leaving Arsenal during the transfer window due to Bellerin’s form. It is a sad situation but one that we as Arsenal fans must come to terms with; Debuchy with his versatility, particularly at centre-back, will still be a crucial member of the squad but his place in the first team has certainly been lost.
The perfect full back to compliment Monreal
Monreal’s development into Mr. Reliable on the left hand side of our defence has been a crucial factor in the added solidity to our back line. Defensively excellent, possessing a calming presence and not bad when called upon to attack he has become one of the first names on our team sheet comprehensively ousting Kieran Gibbs.
The two Spaniards are very different full backs by nature. Whilst Bellerin possesses essential attacking tenacity and provides us with a new dimension, Monreal provides authoritative defensive capabilities and positioning.
It seems we have finally found the perfect balance between our full backs, a balance which is crucial if we are to progress as a club. It would be nice if were defensively capable to play with two flying full backs like Barcelona but sadly our team is yet to progress to this standard – very few teams actually do.
This is why Hector and Nacho are a perfect partnership on the flanks, if Kieran Gibbs were to play, a player with similar attacking instinct to that of Bellerin, the rest of the back line would constantly be exposed and we would find ourselves playing catch up – something we’re notoriously bad at.
It is a partnership which provides a crucial offensive dimension but one that gives us the security we need, a win win situation in my eyes and it has been Bellerin’s sensational rise to prominence that has allowed this balance to emerge.
Hector has made himself into a star and a rumoured call up to the Spanish national team would be fair reward for one of the games most talented youngsters, thank god he’s ours eh.