Hector Bellerin has defended teammate Calum Chambers after an uncertain performance against Liverpool, revealed Petr Cech is a huge source of confidence for the team and hailed Per Mertesacker’s leadership.
An ill Mertesacker and injured Koscielny meant that Gabriel and Chambers were thrown into the mix at centre-back against Liverpool. Although Gabriel had a 100% win record in the matches he’d featured in for Arsenal, Chambers was yet to be tested in this position and unfortunately, his inexperience showed.
The 20-year-old repeatedly gave the ball away, was naive in possession and was consistently out of position.
Bellerin has spoken up about the difficulties faced by those who are just thrown into a match of that intensity without having time to properly adjust.
“It’s very difficult when you haven’t played regularly to just come on to the pitch,” he explained. “It happened to me last year and it will happen to all players at some point. It’s hard to adjust to the tempo of the game and gain confidence.
“The fact that both centre backs went straight in after not playing this year must have been very difficult. We knew it would be but the fact that we kept a clean sheet and had the help of Petr Cech, who had a great game, was important. It’s hard to just get thrown in, especially in that kind of game against Liverpool at home.”
The defender went on the speak about Cech and the difference it makes having such an experienced goalkeeper behind the back four.
“He’s a great professional and we are learning a lot from him,” Bellerin revealed. “His performance on Monday said a lot about him. He’s at his top level, he made some great saves and it’s important to have a goalkeeper who can win you points.
“It’s good to have a striker who can score goals, but the fact that we have a goalkeeper who is going to stop them is as important. We are very lucky to have him in goal and when you look back and see Petr in goal it gives you a lot of confidence.”
In light of recent comments from Gary Neville that Arsenal lack leadership on the pitch, the 20-year-old also added, “I’ve had great help when I’ve been playing with Per next to me, who is an experienced player. As a young player, to always have experience and leaders at the back really helps us young players and also the rest of the team.”