Not many Arsenal players could leave St Mary’s with their heads held high. Hector Bellerin was certainly not one of those.
He certainly wasn’t our worst player, but his continuous average performances are starting to just be the norm. Bellerin has been in poor form this whole season, with his only good game coming against Tottenham – which, to be fair, isn’t the worst game to find some form in.
A lot of people have cited he’s struggled to adapt to the new formation and just needed some time. But how much more time can we give him?
The young Spanish right-back has been a wing-back for more than enough time, and I believe he’s highlighted that he isn’t a very good football player. I think another large factor has come from the lack of competition. He’s never had to worry for his place there, as Mathieu Debuchy is the next in line and is hardly knocking on the door.
I don’t want to just slate Bellerin, because he obviously has potential to be great for us. One thing I think he’s been consistently good at is the timing of his runs. This season alone, I remember several times he’s made a run down the right flank for the likes of Aaron Ramsey to find him with a well-placed pass.
That’s the only aspect of his game I think he’s proficient at. The real problems come after he gets the ball. Just like in our loss to Southampton, he found himself in so many great positions but just didn’t have the quality to capitalise on it. We’ve often managed to free up space for the 22-year-old in the final third, and he has often been so wasteful.
Ever since he made it into the first-team a couple years ago, many fans cited that he needed to improve his crossing. It’s nearly 2018 and his crossing hasn’t improved at all. When I’m watching other teams play, I’m shocked at the quality of the ball going into the box – shocked because it’s such a rare occurrence in an Arsenal game.
Bellerin still does the same side-footed low cross all too often, and it needs to be better in this formation, given he often finds himself on the overlap in games. And can someone please teach him how to use his weaker foot. It’s not there just for running!
In this formation, the ex-Barcelona man often finds himself in possession while facing away from goal. For some reason, he refuses to use his left foot to play the ball, meaning a simple pass Bellerin could make with his left foot results in him passing further back and slowing the game down.
It reminds me of Shkodran Mustafi’s error against Manchester United last week, where he had the chance to make an easy pass with his weaker left foot, but opted to try and use the outside of his right instead, leading to Arsenal conceding. It’s ridiculous that so many players still can’t use their weaker foot to even pass the ball!
He isn’t a poor player, far from it. But how much longer are we going to settle for these average performances? Many are calling for a change in formation, reverting to a back four, so hopefully that could turn his form around.
Other than that, I think the only option that could definitely help improve his game is to cut his hair. There’s a direct correlation between Bellerin’s hair length and his form. It’s a tactic worth taking, for everyone’s sake!