Football

Arsenal cannot afford to lose Hector Bellerin after series of phenomenal performances

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The emergence of Hector Bellerin this season in Arsenal's resurgent side has been nothing short of a revelation, which has left outcast Mathieu Debuchy out in the cold and having to seriously consider his options.

Bought from Newcastle for around £12 million last summer, the Frenchman was brought in as an able replacement for the departing Bacari Sagna, his destination Manchester City.

Upon the France international's arrival, Bellerin, a graduate from the infamous La Masia in Barcelona, was down as far as third choice in the right-back pecking order, behind Debuchy and Calum Chambers.

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However, after being given a chance in the first team, largely due to Debuchy's injuries and Chambers' inconsistency, the youngster has stepped up to the plate remarkably and never looked back.

Although Debuchy is a good defender in his own right, as is Chambers, neither possess the same qualities that Bellerin does - when up against teams with pace such as Crystal Palace, who boast Wilfred Zaha and Yannick Bolasie on their wings, the youngster is a natural choice due his speed and agility.

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Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich proved why Bellerin is such an integral part of Arsenal's line up, epitomised by his 45-yard run in the dying minutes of the game to steal the ball away from Thiago Alcantara and square to Mesut Ozil for an easy finish.

The commitment shown by the 20-year-old to sprint such a distance so late in the game to regain possession reaped him plenty of praise from Arsenal fans and pundits watching the game. Such performances and determination have secured Bellerin's place in Arsene Wenger's team as their number one right-back.

The modern game demands pace from full-backs - wingers are becoming increasingly quick, skillful and harder to deal with.

Bellerin's speed, then, is his greatest attribute. Against speedsters like Eden Hazard and Memphis Depay in the Premier League, the Spaniard is able to track them yard-for-yard.

However, this also allows him to be utilised very effectively in attack, constantly darting down the wing, overlapping team-mates and crossing into dangerous areas.

Still only in his early 20's, he has a long way to go yet and will improve substantially - his potential is vast, and consistent playing time under Wenger will only develop him further.

Bellerin was left for dead by Douglas Costa at one stage against the Bavarians earlier this week, the Brazilian mesmerising the Spaniard with a number of stepovers followed by a nutmeg.

Pep Guardiola stated Costa can beat anyone one-on-one - his skill set is frightening - but against Bellerin, despite the aforementiond piece of skill, the 25-year-old had little joy, his pace matched throughout. 

Costa would eventually switch flanks to face Nacho Monreal - a testament to Bellerin's ability to thwart some of Europe's best.

Prior to his rise to stardom at the Emirates, Bellerin was loaned to Watford for a short period of time and used as a winger, making only eight appearances. He was soon recalled by Wenger, who felt he was misused at Vicarage Road.

The Frenchman took a risk with Bellerin and it's paid off. The Spaniard's emergence in Arsenal's side has added a new dimension to their game and one that they've thrived from.

Composed on the ball, able to dribble past players and dangerous when crossing from wide areas, Bellerin has established himself as a mainstay in Arsenal's defence and a player they cannot afford to lose. Debuchy doesn't stand a chance.

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsenal
Football

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