Hector Bellerin has given his verdict following Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Cologne last night.
The Spaniard scored our third goal on the night to secure an important three points and ensure our Europa League campaign got off to the best start.
Cologne took the lead after a David Ospina mistake but were pegged back by goals from Sead Kolasinac and Alexis Sanchez. Bellerin then wrapped up the scoring.
Reacting to the result and an important win, Bellerin told Arsenal.com: “Definitely. It’s a new competition for us and we knew we needed to set the tone. We think we’re one of the best teams in the competition, so we have to show that on the pitch. After not a very good start, the coach decided to change the tactics and it worked for us with Sead coming on, scoring and helping us to get a boost in the second half. I’m very happy.”
It was a strange night, not just because Arsenal aren’t used to playing on a Thursday. Crowd problems saw the game’s kick-off delayed by an hour, and a very different atmosphere in the Emirates Stadium. Bellerin admitted that this did effect the team, but it was something they had to overcome.
“Obviously with the nutrition we were ready to play at 8pm, but things happened and it meant we had to play an hour late,” he said.
“We had to be ready – these things happen sometimes, not often, but we have to be ready as players. We started a bit with cold feet but then after it just worked.”
Arsenal now have two wins behind them as they go into Sunday’s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It’ll be a difficult game for us and we have little time to prepare, but Bellerin insists the team will be ready.
“I think the win against Bournemouth in the league gave us a lot of confidence and today the win and coming back from [being behind] always gives you that boost. We’re going to train hard in these two days coming and then we’re going to be ready for Chelsea at the weekend.”
Perhaps this time round the short turnover between games will ensure that Arsenal are extra-focused for the game. If nothing else, they have a pre-packaged excuse ready to go.