Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin struggles in first start since injury

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

After a disappointing 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Monday, Arsenal got themselves back on track with a big win at home against Standard Liege.

The Gunners ran out 4-0 winners in the end, with Gabriel Martinelli scoring his third and fourth goals in the Europa League so far this term to open his team’s account on the night. Those two strikes were followed by goals from Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos as Unai Emery’s side ended up comfortable victors.

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It was also Hector Bellerin’s first start since returning from injury earlier this month. Unfortunately for the Spain international, he struggled to have an impact on the match despite it being against such inferior opposition.

Of course, there wasn’t too much work to do defensively, as the Islington outfit controlled the ball for much of the game, ending up with 62% possession.

The 24-year-old, though, still didn’t look settled back in the side, failing to make a single tackle whilst also being dribbled past on one occasion. He also won just one of the five ground duels he took part in, meaning he triumphed just 20% of the time.

If there was a negative from the win, it would be Bellerin’s defensive display.

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With his team largely in the ascendancy, one would have therefore expected a more dominant display at the other end of the pitch, but that wasn’t the case.

Whilst he did create two chances, he failed to even attempt a cross, and completed just 33% of his dribbles, per SofaScore. Also, he lost possession of the ball no less than 15 times, which is an awful lot for a defender. For some context, no other member of the backline did so on more than 10 occasions.

It seems that Bellerin is still rusty since returning from rupturing his cruciate ligament.

Maybe it is too soon for him to take a regular place on the right, and Calum Chambers should be given more time at right-back.

The former Southampton man has one goal and three assists during his time on the pitch this term, and has conceded just two goals as well. With that in mind, it would be foolish to rush Bellerin back.

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It is unfortunate for the former Watford loanee, but his injury may just have put him down the pecking order for a period. He will need a bit of time to get used to playing again, but he may not have too much of that on his hands if Chambers continues to take advantage of the opportunities he is given.

Article title: Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin struggles in first start since injury

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