The Paradox of Hector Bellerin by AI
Hector Bellerin has the most assists for Arsenal this season with 4, and this is in a team that struggles to attack fluently, much less score.
Bellerin has always been good going forward. Two seasons ago, he was neck and neck with Liverpool’s fullback duo for assists before he sustained a long-term injury. This season, since his return back to form after the injury, Bellerin has been amazing on the front foot. He won us points against Manchester and Sheffield United. And he almost won us points on Sunday when he carried the ball infield in a run that was reminiscent of the one against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, and poked an accurate throughball that set Bukayo Saka one on one with the opposition goalkeeper.
Had Saka scored, Bellerin would have been responsible for half of Arsenal’s goals this season. In fact, he already is, and no one is talking about this nearly enough.
On the other hand, Bellerin almost cost us a goal when he poorly tracked two Leeds players in the same run. Against Aston Villa, Jack Grealish ran riot on his flank. And thus you have the Bellerin paradox: he is class offensively but ass defensively and you have to make a choice.
It’s difficult to make a choice against the man that has been responsible for half of your goals but that’s how weak he is on the defensive side. He does not physically dominate his opponent, doesn’t tackle very well, shies away from a dribble and generally invites pressure on the defense. This is who Bellerin has been for 5 seasons and yet he’s been first choice for three different managers.
Bellerin is a paradox and he is one that must be addressed as he continues to dazzle offensively and dawdle defensively.
What can Arteta do with a paradox like that?