Tag Archives: hector bellerin

2 more sleeps before Arsenal appear in another FA Cup final

Morning all.

I am all over the place this morning. Part-time furlough will do that to you. Do not know whether I am coming our going!

Hopefully by now you all have your FA Cup final plans sorted.

I will be doing the same as I did for the semi-final. The lads I regularly go with coming mine. BBQ. Beer. Football.

Chelsea are very slight favourites for the final. How close the odds are might surprise some considering they finished 10 points ahead in the league. But it is the form of Arsenal since Mikel Arteta which narrows the gap.

Since Arteta’s first game against Bournemouth on 26th December for the , Chelsea won 34 points in 20 games. Arteta’s Arsenal 33 points.

I have continually bashed on that Arsenal are a top 6 team that were coached poorly for the first half of the season – firstly under Unai Emery and then Freddie Ljungberg.

No blame can be put at Ljungberg’s feet. The problem was the board took 5 games between sacking Emery and bringing in Arteta.

In that 5 games we got 5 points. How different would our season have been if we had have got Arteta in the day after Emery left. Like Spurs did replacing Pochettino with Mourinho. I am certain we would have finished in a European spot. Maybe even challenged 5th.

So we face Chelsea in the final we double figure points between us in the league, but the gap is narrower in reality.

Arteta has faced Chelsea twice since he took over.

The first game was 3 days after Arteta took the helm. Chelsea won 2-1. But the result did not reflect the performance.

Arsenal were winning 1-0 with 7 minutes to go, before Jorginho and Tammy Abraham scored to steal the victory away.

3 minutes before Jorginho’s goal, he pulled back Matteo Guendouzi.

The Brazilian had already been booked and it was a blatant yellow card, which would have been his 2nd equalling a red.

Referee Craig Pawson had already shown 7 yellow cards, a couple of which were for pulling back an opponent. He bottled sending off Jorginho. What sums it up is Alexandre Lacazette was booked for protesting too much!

In the away game at Stamford Bridge, David Luiz was sent off after just 26 minutes. Chelsea scored from the resulting penalty before Gabriel Martinelli equalised.

Chelsea went 2-1 up with 6 minutes to go before Hector Bellerin scored 3 minutes later.

In years go by, down to 10 men after 26 minutes, Arsenal would have conceded 5 or 6. To come away from the Bridge with a point was seen as a bit of a victory.

So over 2 games against Chelsea, Arsenal have been the better side.

I am quietly confident about Saturday.


Hector Bellerin should be made captain…not sold

Today’s player linked away from Arsenal is Hector Bellerin.

It has been reported that Inter Milan want to sign the 25-year-old right back for £27million.

What is baffling is that Arsenal fans seem to want him out.

This morning I have seen the transfer  been described as a “masterstroke” and “Raul’s best deal to date” if Bellerin was sold. I will not give these blogs the traffic by linking to them.

The justification behind this is that “Bellerin has a very questionable injury record and has missed 372 days through various problems since 2015”.

Recently we were reprimanded by NewsNow for our articles. They said we fell below their editorial quality. Will NewsNow do the same with these blogs? Or is that sort of statement OK?

Whilst the statement is true, it is also misleading.

Bellerin suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee in in January 2019. It initially ruled him out for 9 months – but as we know with long injuries it can take a while for a player to return fully, playing twice a week.

Prior to his injury, Bellerin had a fairly clean record.

The 3 seasons before 2018/19, he had averaged 45 games a season.

You do not play 45 games a season if you have a “a very questionable injury record”

Of the 372 days missed injured since 2015, 90% of them came since 2019, since that horrible injury against Chelsea.

Before the suspension for Covid19, Bellerin had played 7 of 10 games. The 3 he missed were cup ties.

He was regaining his full fitness, regaining his form.

Some fans have it out for Bellerin.

Bellerin has previously called out “fans” who profit from defeats. He has a strongly held political opinion; actively supporting Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in the last general election. He likes his fashion and is often seen at shows during his down time.

We should be glad that Bellerin is an intelligent young man. That he has an opinion and can back it up. That he has interests outside of football beyond hitting a golf ball. These things should not be held against him.

In England especially, players tend to be a bit thick.

Their education is reduced as they go through school and concentrate more on football. They are not encouraged by parents to work hard at school and on the football pitch. Football takes over. This leads to many failed footballers struggling for a career if they are released at 18.

Bellerin should be praised for being an intelligent individual, with deep interests and opinions. Not criticisms.

It was apparently Bellerin who got the players together to take a wage reduction to help ease Arsenal’s financial worries.

Bellerin is also who was behind Arsenal’s show of support for the Black Lives Matter protest and helped launch Football United, raising funds for the NHS.

Not only should Bellerin not be sold, he should be made captain.


Emery should resist temptation to play returning pair against Man U

On Monday Arsenal face Manchester United away. It is a game that would solidify Arsenal’s top 3 intentions if they win; or plunge us back into depression if we lose.

Following their good performance against Nottingham Forest, there have been plenty of calls from fans to put Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney into the starting XI for the key game against Man U. Emery should not bow down to the pressure.

Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest was Rob Holding’s 1st senior game since December 2018.

Holding suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on during a 2–2 draw against Manchester United nearly a year ago.

Likewise Tierney has spent 4 months out following a hernia injury, which subsequently required surgery for.

Both players are top young talents and will be mainstays in the Arsenal first team, so it is important that Emery looks at the bigger picture.

All being well, this season Arsenal will play around 50 games. There is a lot of football to come.

To cope with the work load, Emery needs to rotate his squad and ensure players do not pick up long the term injuries that hampered the clubs top 4 and Europa league challenge last season. It is also important that he manages the work load of returning players so that they immediately break down once more.

Both Holding and Tierney performed brilliantly against Nottingham Forest, but a Premier League game against Manchester United would be a huge step up; and one which might be a step up too soon.

What makes more sense is to leave both with the “mid-week squad” in the short term.

Next Thursday we play Standard Liege at home. It would make more sense to play Holding and Tierney in that game, continuing their rehabilitation at a lower level, than put them into a big game at Old Trafford.

It might be seen as some as a bit of a risk not to play both against Man U, but looking at the bigger picture it makes a lot of sense.

Following the game against Liege, Arsenal face Bournemouth. Once again Emery should not be tempted to put Tierney and Holding in.

After Bournemouth, we have an international break, with our 1st game back against Sheffield United on Monday 21st October. That is nearly a month away.

This should be the game that Holding and Tierney are slated in for a Premier League return.

The Sheffield United fixture is over 3 weeks away. By that point both players would have had a months full team training under their belt, as well as 2 senior games. They will be ready for Premier League football.

Putting them in against Manchester United would be short sighted. It would be playing the strongest XI at the risk of one of the 2 suffering another injury – which is likely for players returning from long term problems.

Not playing the pair against Man U means that come Sheffield United, both (and Hector Bellerin) are fit and strong and ready to go for the rest of the season. A sacrifice in the short term to see the benefit in the long term.

I am excited to see Holding, Bellerin and Tierney play together. They will be 3 of the back 4 for at least the next 5 years. But to ensure we get the best out of them for the next decade, it is important that we keep their recoveries from long term injuries slow and do not rush them back.