Mikel Arteta will give everything to ensure Arsenal are as competitive as possible this season, but he knows that this campaign will be a difficult transitional phase. The Spaniard has players crucial to the cause but there are many currently in the side which probably won’t be by the end of next summer. He will have difficult decisions to make for Arsenal based on performances such as the future of Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, and David Luiz.
Bellerin’s Arsenal career is probably the toughest decision because, since his cruciate ligament injury in 2019, he hasn’t been able to sustain form. Listening to other supporters is a mixed bag, with some insisting he remain, while others are keen to sell him on for around £28m.
Indeed, he isn’t quite the player he was two years ago, and that he has sustained regular injuries every season since 2015. It’s also true that he isn’t the best right-sided defender, often caught out whilst not in possession and having to rely on blistering pace rather than natural defensive intuition. He sometimes makes poor decisions, gets caught flat-footed by experienced strikers, and isn’t able to find the gear that bailed him out so many times in the past.
Having said that, Hector Bellerin is still a useful asset for Arsenal, charging down the right, cutting in, and flushing defenders out. He may have faults, too many some might say, but he’s still someone that can make things happen. I’m not convinced by Cedric Soares in the role and to my mind, Bellerin starts ahead of the Portuguese defender every time.
The Rights All Wrong:
In an Arsenal side that create few chances in open play, Hector Bellerin is the only player, apart from Reiss Nelson and Maitland-Niles, who pushes opponents on the right. Willian and Pepe continue to frustrate as they rotate their inconsistent form in an advanced strike role and the midfield lacks the quality and type of player that can assume the role. Saka could probably make a fist of it but I prefer him on the left. Ceballos…mmm, who else is there?
Perhaps, Arteta has a plan to replace Bellerin, perhaps not, but I don’t see him as a priority at the moment and any defensive frailties will be eliminated to a degree if Arteta can find a strong pairing in central defence. Tierney looks to be a find and will only get better, he would probably benefit from a flat back four, and Gabriel has put in some solid performances which have bagged him the Player of the Month award on two consecutive occasions.
I think, if Arteta solves the central pairing for Arsenal, then the arguments for selling Hector Bellerin become void. If only Mari had been available, it’s disappointing that he has been out for so long but would Arteta have picked the Spaniard ahead of David Luiz?
Someone named Mitch, a self-professed advocate for a Bellerin upgrade, on Arsenal mania called him:
“Worst RB in Arsenal history.”
“If he’s our starting RB next season we stand no chance of getting top 4. Opponents will do as they do in every match we start Bellerin; will target him and look to exploit the space he leaves behind him, which they have done in the past numerous seasons.”
“If AMN and Chambers aren’t ahead of Bellerin in the RB pecking order (even Cedric should be too) then serious questions need to be asked about Arteta.”
In reply, Taylor gang Gunners reminded everyone:
“That run before Auba’s goal in the FA Cup final”
“Elite season from Heccy B pending. #CockneySpaniard”
LT Arsenal claimed some had a hidden agenda against the Spaniard:
“Some fans just have an agenda against Bellerin. They faked a voice recording a couple of years back and even if this picture of him with the cigarette is true, who cares?”
If Hector Bellerin stays at Arsenal, then he needs a challenger to keep him on his toes. Not a converted midfielder or an understudy for the odd cameo.