How can Arsenal get Bellerin back to top form?

Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins has claimed that Hector Bellerin has taken steps backwards, highlighted by his penalty error for Arsenal this weekend.

The Spanish defender broke through into the squad three years ago, taking full advantage of injuries to previously favoured pair Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy, and has been highly rated ever since.

Bellerin continued to flourish in our side into his second term, and was even selected for the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for 2015-16, but has since struggled.

The 22 year-old had some minor injury struggles during last season, and is yet to look the same player since. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been challenging for his starting place in the side, and you could even say was winning the battle for some time, before he left the club to join Liverpool.

The Gunners are now short of rivals for Bellerin’s starting role, and would struggle to drop him, but does he need to be dropped?

Ray Wilkins is certainly surprised by his downfall, and his failures in the weekend’s loss to Watford have only moved to highlight that.

“What I would say is when I first saw this young man Bellerin come into English football, three, four years ago, he had dynamic pace,” Wilkins said.

“He was all over the pitch and I thought ‘my word, Arsene’s dug up one there, what a footballer’.

“He wouldn’t have been beaten in that situation by Richarlison.

“Richarlison gets the final touch, there is minimal contact and he goes over, but unfortunately minimal contact in the modern-day game can mean a penalty kick.

“Bellerin for me has gone slightly backwards from the player I first saw three or four years ago.

“This fella was one of the outstanding full-backs I had seen in many a year to be honest.

“He would never have been beaten in that situation.”

How much has Bellerin deteriorated? Is he a prime example of our squad’s weaknesses? Can we afford to drop him?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Bellerin Ray Wilkins Watford


  1. khitb77 says:

    What penalty error?

    It wasn’t Bellerin’s fault that Watford had Tom Daley playing for them.

    1. Sue says:

      Haha love it!!!!

  2. gotanidea says:

    Bellerin is still very fast and talented, but he has to be smarter near the penalty box and produce less “headless-chicken” crosses. The competition with Chamberlain was very good for him, unfortunately Chamberlain chose to improve his career in Liverpool.

    Arsenal cannot drop him now, because he has no real competitors, as Debuchy is exiled and Chambers is too slow as a right wingback. Arsenal have to get better right wingback in January.

    Porto’s Ricardo Pereira played very well as a right wingback for Nice last season. I think Aleix Vidal would also be available, because Nelson Semedo seems to be the first option in Barcelona’s right wingback position nowadays.

  3. arsenal4life says:

    Cech Bellerin Koz.
    Monreal Kolasinac.
    are all playing well.
    But the rest of the team is so uncertain.
    Debuchy and Chambers provide no competition or rest.
    The switch to 3 at the back has not really worked.
    Mertz Koz and Mustafi have been injured while
    Holding is not trusted it seems.
    Xhaka is struggling Coquelin has been injured.
    Elneny and Ramsey are not the true out let ball specialist Cazorla was.
    Wilshere is hardly risked and only plays against weak teams.
    Key midfielders Ozil and Sanchez seem to be
    headed for the January exit door.
    Walcott + Iwobi when they play are productive if not outstanding.
    Wellbeck is injured again Lacazette is only 7 games in
    while Giroud remains his usual consistent self but plays less minutes.
    So to be fair for a side playing well short of top gear
    the league position is quite reasonable
    while the Europa League group stage is quite easy.
    If the likes of Xhaka Ramsey Walcott Ozil, Sanchez, and Lacazette
    hit form together Arsenal can still make top 4 from the league.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      Monreal was poor v Watf, and there will always be games when you can tell he is not a CB. Bellerin still plays like a fullback who wants to be a winger but doesn’t take on his opposite number. Kos has not been the same Kos in about a year, glimpses but not the Kos we remember. Cech’s kicking was shocking v Watf and the dude needs to stop trying to guess which corner. Kolasinac gets a pass.

  4. ThirdManJW says:

    Like so many other youth prospects coming through at Arsenal, Bellerin has plateaued. It’s been the same with the Ox, Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshere, etc. For me, it’s more to with the coaching at Arsenal, and using players in their correct positions, but at 22, we need to start seeing some consistency from Bellerin.

    He has improved of late, but we’ve been playing some poor opposition, so it’s hard to tell if he’s progressing. He’s still a great prospect, and I would love him to become an Arsenal legend, but sadly he wants out, so I say sell him next summer to Barcelona before his performances decline even more (which they will do playing under Wenger), for no less than £50 million.

  5. Gunner4Life says:

    Hector’s good.. Good enough to become one of the Best! He has all the necessary attributes in his bag.. Just needs someone to bring the best out of Him.. But what can He do..? In a team like this.. Where average players get full 90 minutes plus a good salary.. In a team where other linked players wanted to leave and still want to.. He was the one who stayed.. Even after there was a very strong link that He would return to His boyhood club.. N.. Why couldn’t He? Any player would have.. Instead He had 2 major reasons to quit Arsenal for Barcelona.. 1. Boyhood club.. 2. Barcelona is way better than Arsenal in today’s World.. Then why wouldn’t He join them? I am really glad that He is still a part of Arsenal team n wishes to play for Us.. Unlike some others.. He’s still 22.. N believe me.. He is gonna be one of the best for sure in near future.. But just not happening under Wenger.. Maybe its the tactics or the formation or whatever it may be.. This guy can reach the Heights! N I wanna see Him become great with Arsenal n not for anyone else!

    1. Ivan says:

      You are so right, Hector is a god player beingmade to look bad because of the team’s poor tactics. Change tactician and he will look a lot better.

  6. tatgooner says:

    bellerin was a good player when he had Ramsey supporting him on the wings

  7. 9jagun says:

    Forget about bringing him back to top form Arsenal needs another 2 who is stronger, reads the game well and able to send crosses to the opponent box. Bellerin is too predictable when i was watching the Watford match. I saw there was nothing they could do with Kolasinac side but saw a lot of loopholes in the side of Bellerin.

  8. Not Vanpayslip or that other guy says:

    The easiest way for him to rediscover his form would be to move to a club that has a good manager that can actually coach him well.

    Otherwise just have a chat with Theo on how to get by for over a decade while not performing

    1. jon fox says:

      Well said and how typical of some of the wilfully blind fans on here to dislike your clear statement of the blindingly obvious truth.

  9. wilshegz says:

    His offensive movements are still good, where he has dropped is in his defensive duties… he’s lost d balance of defense and attack n now is just a winger.
    he needs to be retrained in the art of defending again..and certainly needs rotation/competition to remain in top shape physically n mentally.

  10. Break-on-through says:

    I thought it was bad judgement from Bellerin, the player was going nowhere. From the refs angle Bellerin putting his left leg across the players path was always giving the player a chance to win the penno. He should have just stayed with him using his right foot to watch out for an attempted cross. And this dude has a point, Bellerin should be favorite in a straight race, but he’s been out of sorts too often for far too long.

  11. jon fox says:

    What would help Bellerin” get back to top form” OR as I prefer to put it, learn how to defend , would be if Arsenal got a manager who had the first idea how to coach defence or even understand the relevance of full backs and CB’s to defend their goal. Fact is we have had just one , yes ONE, proper outfield proven top quality defender in the last decade, since Campbell left. Koscielny! This is a disgrace for which Wenger should have been sacked many years ago. True, Kolasinac looks the real deal but it is still early days to call him a proven top defender. I pity Bellerin who has loads of natural talent going forward but is a comparative novice defensively. The reason I pity him is he deserves to have a manager who can coach and who even realises the reason for proper defenders, like title challengers always have. Once upon a time in the midst of the good old days, Arsenal too had defenders who could defend. Those were the days when we had men, not boys, playing in defence. The better ones were mainly coached under George Graham.

    1. Ivan says:

      Right as always Jon Fox

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