Many Arsenal players stood out during the Gunners’ 5-1 demolition of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon. The win took the North London club to nine successive victories in all competitions. A brace each for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an early contender for goal of the season courtesy of Aaron Ramsey secured a fine away result for Unai Emery’s side.
As well as the aforementioned goalscorers, the likes of Alex Iwobi, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka all also turned in fine performances. Arsenal’s Spanish right-back, Hector Bellerin, also continued the good form he has been showing for much of this new campaign so far.
Having struggled for consistency and been defensively exposed on numerous occasions in recent seasons under Arsene Wenger, the 23-year-old looks to be enjoying a new lease of life under Emery. So far this season, his defensive positioning looks to have improved and he has become more efficient in delivering end product in the final third.
Bellerin already has two Premier League assists under his belt this season, whereas he only managed three in the entirety of the previous campaign. One of those two assists came this weekend against Fulham.
The fact that Bellerin registered an assist despite only providing one key pass is indicative of how clinical the Gunners were throughout the match. The visitors scored five goals from just nine efforts on goal – with just seven on target. In contrast, Fulham mustered 21 shots, but hit the target on just four occasions. Bellerin was able to test the Fulham ‘keeper himself too, with a finely struck effort early in the second half.
The full-back also caused the home defence trouble with his running on the ball. Bellerin completed two dribbles against Fulham – only Alex Iwobi, on the entire pitch, successfully took on his opponent with greater regularity.
Perhaps more importantly, however, was how solid the Spain international was in a defensive sense. Whilst Fulham did little to greatly test the Gunners, especially in the second half, Emery’s defenders had to remain resilient and wary of the threat posed by individuals in the home side’s attacking unit.
Bellerin contributed to this cause with two tackles and two clearances. He was also reliable in possession, with Fulham only managing to dispossess him on the one occasion and the right-back only committed a single unsuccessful touch. On the ball, Bellerin was both heavily involved – making 56 touches – and tidy, recording an 81.3% pass completion rate.
All in all, Bellerin was in fine form against Fulham and looks to have added a great deal of consistency to his game this season. If he can keep these performance levels up then Bellerin could soon emerge as one of the brightest full-backs in the division – as he has always had the potential to be.