Arsenal: Obvious solution to Hector Bellerin’s drop in form

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on November 26, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on November 26, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

Hector Bellerin’s form this season has evidently been poor and many have been called for him to be dropped. The solution to Bellerin overcoming his poor performances is to have a stint on the sidelines, with Arsenal boasting two very obvious replacements for the Spaniard.

Hector Bellerin’s performances have been below standard during the last few weeks, displaying poor attacking and defensive qualities. Apart from the assist to Alexis Sanchez in the 3-3 draw at the Emirates against Liverpool, Bellerin’s attacking play lacks composure, failing to put in a decent pass or cross into the box on many occasions.

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The Spaniard has yet to miss a Premier League minute this season, but for such an attacking-minded right back, and considering he played in a wing-back positions for the majority of the season thus far, he has only managed to register one assist, the aforementioned cross for Sanchez.

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Apart from the constant misplacement of passes and crosses, Bellerin has been dispossessed 18 times so far and has made one major error leading to a goal. Now aged 22, he looks very much an inferior player to the 19-year-old, breakthrough sensation of the 2014-15 season. Nervous on the ball, constantly being dispossessed and being very sloppy on the ball. His poor form has left many pondering whether Barcelona would still be willing to pay £40 million for the right back.

The Catalan giants have come in for the Spaniard two seasons in a row now, and both times they have been rejected, with Arsene Wenger claiming that Bellerin is a big part of his future plans.

For the majority of the season though, Bellerin has performed quite poorly. And yet, he is still consistently selected for a starting spot in the first team. The frustration growing among the Arsenal fans is fueled by the failure to address the issue with two very obvious solutions.

The first one is Mathieu Debuchy. Yes, he has been shut out for almost two seasons now. Yes, he may have suffered from inconsistent form and chronic injury problems. And yes, Debuchy’s Arsenal career looked done and dusted in the summer. But his appearances in the Carabao Cup and the Europa League this season have proven to be quite positive.

The Frenchman shows a lot more maturity on and off the ball, and very much looks the player in which Wenger put his faith in and paid £12 million for nearly three years ago. Debuchy has even managed to beat the keeper during a Europa League group stage game against Bate Borisov with a sublime finish.

Debuchy’s Arsenal career has been plagued with injuries, and it was his injuries that paved the way for a young Spaniard, who ultimately relegated the right back to the bench and the Frenchman could never regain his position back from him again. The irony of Debuchy being the one to outperform the same player who turned his Arsenal career upside down emphasizes the misuse of the number two.

The second solution, which may have an element of risk attached to it, is the use of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The U20 World Cup winner has been deployed at left back for the past three Premier League games, managing to take over Sead Kolasinac’s role.

But the 20-year-old has been utilized in many positions this season, playing as a wing-back, central midfielder and even as a part of a back three in a three-man defense. Whilst his best position has still yet to be realized, it hasn’t stopped him from putting in solid performances in every position he’s been asked to play.

Playing at left back, Maitland Niles has impressed, one of the very few players who managed to stand out during some rather shaky performances. In the three league games that he has played, the Gunners have only conceded four goals, with three of them coming in a 3-3 draw against Liverpool. Not bad for a debutant.

The solution of deploying Maitland-Niles as a right back and bringing back a reliable Kolasinac in his preferred left back position would be a sensible one. Yes, it may be risky, but, at this point, Maitland-Niles can’t be much worse than Bellerin.

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Maybe the only way Bellerin can regain his form is to be dropped. It’s clear that he is unable to play through it. Debuchy or Maitland-Niles will act as the perfect cover, with Bellerin able to rest and regroup.