Hector Bellerin was a pleasant surprise for every Arsenal fan around the globe this season. The Spaniard was picked up from Barcelona’s La Masia Academy by manager Arsene Wenger when he was a youngster recognizing his potential.
After gaining some experience on loan at loan spells at Watford and with the U-21’s, he finally had his breakthrough into the first team this season. Once a Right Winger converted into a Right Back by the manager, the speedy full back has taken full use of opportunity opened up after unfortunate Debuchy’s injury.
Since his unimpressive debut away at Dortmund in the Champions league group stage game, he has grown from strength to strength. Since then he has regularly featured in most of the games in the season getting better by the game.
His striking traits are undoubtedly the blistering pace he possesses and the ability to take on players having played as a forward in his formative years. He has shown his attacking attributes a number of times this season and sufficiently suffices debuchy’s forward forays and always gives the team an option out wide to stretch the game.
His recovery pace allows him to cover up any mistakes he makes and also useful to defend swift counter attacks. His sprint for an inch perfect tackle on Ashley young to prevent a 1 on 1 vs Ospina quickly springs to mind. He is calm and composed on the ball for a defender which gives additional stability to the back line.
The youngster’s best performances of the season were against Liverpool and Chelsea in the home games. The way he made space for himself in the crowded box and curled home a left foot finish is a delight to watch and also was defensively aware to nullify any threat posed by the Chelsea’s tricky winger Eden Hazard in the home game.
There are a few areas where he could look to improve. Defending in the air is one and he could be more careful in taking players out with careless challenges like he did with Sterling in the Liverpool game but that is something he will learn with experience and game time. Given that he’s only turned 20 he has years before him.
He was preferred to Debuchy who just recovered from injury by the end of the season and will genuinely challenge the Frenchman’s place in the starting lineup next season.
He is another outstanding example of Wenger’s philosophy put into practice. He loves the club and wants to repay the faith the manager has put in him and if he continues to develop at the same pace as he did this season, then we should have the RB position sorted out for years to come.