What can Arteta do with the paradox that is Hector Bellerin?

The Paradox of Hector Bellerin by AI

Hector Bellerin has the most assists for Arsenal this season with 4, and this is in a team that struggles to attack fluently, much less score.

Bellerin has always been good going forward. Two seasons ago, he was neck and neck with Liverpool’s fullback duo for assists before he sustained a long-term injury. This season, since his return back to form after the injury, Bellerin has been amazing on the front foot. He won us points against Manchester and Sheffield United. And he almost won us points on Sunday when he carried the ball infield in a run that was reminiscent of the one against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, and poked an accurate throughball that set Bukayo Saka one on one with the opposition goalkeeper.

Had Saka scored, Bellerin would have been responsible for half of Arsenal’s goals this season. In fact, he already is, and no one is talking about this nearly enough.

On the other hand, Bellerin almost cost us a goal when he poorly tracked two Leeds players in the same run. Against Aston Villa, Jack Grealish ran riot on his flank. And thus you have the Bellerin paradox: he is class offensively but ass defensively and you have to make a choice.

It’s difficult to make a choice against the man that has been responsible for half of your goals but that’s how weak he is on the defensive side. He does not physically dominate his opponent, doesn’t tackle very well, shies away from a dribble and generally invites pressure on the defense. This is who Bellerin has been for 5 seasons and yet he’s been first choice for three different managers.

Bellerin is a paradox and he is one that must be addressed as he continues to dazzle offensively and dawdle defensively.

What can Arteta do with a paradox like that?

Agboola Israel

32 Comments

  1. jon fox says:

    My take is that as a defender his defensive qualities are paramount and the sad fact is that he has NO defensive nous at all. I have never rated him in the least and crave his departure from the club and a proper defender in to take his place.

    Being a mature fan I am not impressed by his fashion sense, social media presence, hairstyle, or even his admirable tree planting campaign.
    At least not as a player , even though I applaud the tree campaign as a human.

    1. Sean M says:

      What does any of that have to do with his football?

      1. jon fox says:

        DID YOU CHOOSE NOT TO READ MY FIRST PARAGRAPH DELIBERATELY OR WAS IT AN OVERSIGHT?

        1. Krish says:

          your caps lock is on..
          no mention you don’t have to thank me, it’s my pleasure

          1. jon fox says:

            YES, DELIBERATELY TOO. I WAS NOT AWARE THAT SOME FOLKS SEEM TO THINK IT A CRIME TO WRITE IN CAPITALS!

          2. Jax says:

            Not a crime Jon, but often considered bad manners & provocative.
            Anyways, I also like Bellerin for the person he is. At the moment we’re weak on that side and would probably benefit with the return of AMN to a position he shone in for the last season or two and cash in on Hector while we can still get a good price for him.

          3. siamois says:

            Ironic coming from the man who attacks people sorry I should have said women who use emojis!

          4. Sue says:

            😄 oh I love an emoji, Siamois 😜

    2. Krish says:

      you do prove that you are old, as this opinion is very much outdated.. it is a valid to have fullbacks mainly as defenders but that’s just one tactic the tactic which has proven more successful is to have offensive minded fullbacks and supporting them through good cb’s or dm’s but yeah i get you, what’s the use of attack i mean 0-0 is better than some wins or losses as 38 draws are almost enough to stay in the PL ain’t it 😉

      1. Reggie says:

        The problem with Bellerin is he is not made for the rigors of the prem. He would be better in France or Spain because it isnt as physical. His defensive qualities are non existent and often funnily enough get beaten for pace defending. He gets bullied and i think he also struggles with fear when attacked. That is why my theory of why he is quicker attacking but slower, when tight, when defending. He isnt a bad player, he just isnt suited at all by the prem, he should have stayed in Spain.

  2. Shakir says:

    He is a bit like Trent although not at his level yet but i think he has technique and pace to reach there..
    Tge liverpool attack is superbly balanced as they take on any team on any flank but trent and robertson especially trent is not good defensively but van dijk and their midfield covers for them suoerbly

    So its all in how your team play….

    1. Krish says:

      people on here dont like this kind of balanced and good comment..
      whats more supported is this:
      how could you demand that the team balances itself through their specialties? no no in the “modern Game” everybody should primarily defend, i mean defense wins titles no? Goals and attack minded players aren’t important.. every players should just run riot and press and defend.. defensive stability is the only way and the only thing which matters!

  3. Sean M says:

    I think he’s improved a lot this season, which is really what matters. He’s still only 25 and defensive nous will come with experience. Villa tore our whole defence apart and there are few players in the world who can stop Grealish on current form. Of all the areas of the pitch we should be worried about, I don’t think RB is anywhere close to the priority.

    1. Dan kit says:

      👍👍👍👍

      1. Sue says:

        I liked that too, Dan 👍

        1. Dan kit says:

          I would say he’s been in my top 3 players so far this season .

          1. Sue says:

            Who are the other 2?

          2. Sue says:

            Leno and Gabriel??

          3. Dan kit says:

            Gabriel ,saka

          4. Sue says:

            Nice one, Dan 👍

    2. Ikechukwu John says:

      100%..

  4. CUPPERS says:

    Max Arrons, 100 % same attacking assist qualities, but this guy can actually defend first and foremost, Arsenal snap him up, Nico Elvedi would be another good shout can play cb, rb, lb very well as well. So much better out there, when you look at some of our previous generations, this guy has got to be one of our weakest, if he’s the best we got, then we really need look at ourselves, or more importantly look elsewhere (Norwich).

  5. HG says:

    Bellarin never gets any support on his flank , Willian or Pepe never track back . he is defensively OK . He was the best player after Goal post in the leeds game

  6. daniel twist says:

    I would make him an outright winger, which he was in his development years if what I’ve heard is correct, and what limited defensive ability and experience playing right back that he has would make him ideal for us

  7. durand says:

    Defensively he’s been poor, always has been. With Kos and Mert it could be overlooked to a degree, but with recent CB’s in our club we need a RB that can defend.
    Compare him to Tierney who can do both (attack and defend) and Bellerin doesn’t contribute enough defensively. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of naysayers, but his PRIMARY job should be defender first, not as a secondary aspect.
    He has 4 assists primarily because our midfield is $hit, and couldn’t contribute if their lives depended on it. Whether it’s due to players or Arteta’s tactics time will tell, but depending on a RB and not midfielders makes for trouble in the long run.

    1. jon fox says:

      Such sound common sense and well said. How any so called knowing fan, as some on here would think themselves to be, can so lightly dismiss a defenders prime job as being able to defend properly eascapes me!
      BELLERIN HAS ALWAYS, AS YOU CORRECTLY SAY, BEEN A POOR DEFENDER.

      1. durand says:

        Maybe just a different generation Jon, truly I don’t know. A RB’s job is to defend; tackles and interceptions should be what matters far more than assists. That’s one reason why our defense has been so poor for years.
        No mystery why most opponents attack on Bellerin’s side rather than against Tierney. My admiration for Tierney continues to grow, and I consider us fortunate to have such a true fullback on our team.
        Frankly Hector doesn’t seem as interested in the physical defending side, and I certainly don’t expect him to change his stripes now after several years of avoiding that task.

  8. Alx says:

    What if Arteta tried shifting Bellerin to right wing and shifting Niles to right back…

    1. Quantic Dream says:

      Yeeessss! That could work! He would hardly score but he would drive foward, pepper the box with crosses and passes and rack up some good assists like Valencia used to do for prime Man Utd. Problem is the rest of our fowards are hopeless. Auba is in crisis and Lacazette is just Lacazette. Am afraid we need a winger who can also score and not just assist.

  9. Uwot? says:

    I think the general consensus of opinion is that Bell end isn’t cut out as a top grade defensive full back.more of a wing back.Foxy was right & cuppers has called it right too with the spotlight on Max Aaron’s.flog Bell end to Barca ( can’t resist a bit of the old DNA bollocks) especially if they’re from Arsenal .screw em on price & go get Max.

  10. Quantic Dream says:

    How about we give freaking Soares A CHANCE over there at right back, eh? We signed him, didn’t we? Or are we saying he is now not good enough to play or was only ever good enough to sit on the bench? Is he going to be another wasted talent like Saliba? Why is Wilian getting game time and not Soares?

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