Hector Bellerin has been singled out for Arsenal criticism following the defeat to Spurs.
Said criticism has been overplayed. In regards to his display for Arsenal on Sunday, however? Not in the slightest. Hector Bellerin was desperately poor.
In the context of the season? Well, vociferous views of some sections of the fanbase, those which went beyond irks of the performance, should direct their scorn elsewhere.
When the news broke in the summer of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, with initial talk of a £35m bid enough to seal the deal, there were valid cases for Bellerin to be sold. It was thought that unless there was a significant injection of cash, Arsenal wouldn’t be able to sign anyone. I was on board with that.
Speculation died down, and Bellerin stayed. Not only did Bellerin stay, but in the muddled, uncertain opening to the season Arsenal were having, the Spaniard was in some of his best form. Arguably of his career.
Technically he’d improved ten-fold, structurally he cut a snug figure in that tucked in right-back slot, one where he could alternate his attacking runs inside full-backs as opposed to solely bombarding outside them. On the ball he was a threat, and he made up 1/5 of the offensive lanes Arsenal sought to attack from.
On Sunday he should have got an assist. Alexandre Lacazette bottled that cutback.
Instead he is being – rightly in these instances – lambasted for some inadequate defensive contributions when running back to goal. It’s in these transitions he’s looked out of his depth, both evident against Wolves and Tottenham, where he’s been culpable.
A lot is being asked of him. However, so too is Kieran Tierney on the other flank, although with the benefit of Gabriel Magalhaes on that side, opposition teams have a clearer point of attack.
No player is infallible, but Bellerin is tasked with heaps of responsibility in this side at not just both ends of the pitch, but even centrally as well as an extra midfielder.
At the stage of finger-pointing, those who’ve not performed all season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and Granit Xhaka, to name but three, are more deserving of such a response than someone who has under-performed in the past few weeks.
With changes to personnel being insisted upon, other areas of the pitch feature higher on the list than right-back, Sunday’s display or otherwise.
Throw-ins, though? Yeah, inexcusable.