Arsene Wenger has defended Hector Bellerin after the right-back was booed off the pitch by fans following Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace.
- Bellerin has been poor this year
- Player was booed off by fans against Palace
- Wenger claims right-back is struggling to recover from January ankle injury
- Manager says Bellerin is ‘genuine Arsenal guy’
Wenger reckons Arsenal fans should go a little bit easier on Bellerin as, while he understands that they love the club, this is no time to be divided.
“I think it’s unfair because he’s a guy who is genuinely Arsenal and wants to do well,” the Frenchman said.
“I agree that for a while he was not the Hector Bellerin we had seen at the start of the season. He has not come back to his level since he has been injured.
“Then you get bad habits and you forget that your job first is to defend and win challenges because you protect yourself a little bit. I think now he is trying to focus on again what is important, to defend well. After he can give us the extra bit [going forward] that is important as well.
“The fans want to be behind the team and the way we respond on the football pitch will decide the attitude of the fans. The fans love the club. It’s a good period to be united and not divided. Historically Arsenal has been about that. One of our values is to be together. There’s no better period of the season than to show it now.”
As Wenger says, the fans will respond to what they see on the pitch but what they’re seeing right now isn’t exactly inspiring. Most of us can take losing but when the players, who are paid more in a week than most people will ever see in a year, look as if they can’t be bothered, it doesn’t look great.
Actions speak louder than words and while booing individual players may seem harsh, it’ll only get worse if this terrible run of form continues.
Wenger has attempted to rally the fans ahead of games before and it’s clearly not been working. Something’s got to give.