Hector Bellerin: A surprise performance
PIRAEUS, GREECE - MARCH 12: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal FC and Mohamed Camara of Olympiacos FC during the UEFA Europa League match between Olympiacos FC and Arsenal FC at Georgios Karaiskakisstadion on March 12, 2021 in Piraeus, Greece (Photo by Eurokinissie/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

It is fair to say that Hector Bellerin has received a fair amount of criticism this season. After the positive end to last season, it seemed as if the right-back could improve his game but that has not been the case this season.

In fact, many fans prefer the option of Cedric on the right side to help the attacking play flow better. 

However, the Spaniard put on a brilliant display in Greece as the Gunners took control of the tie against Olympiakos

  • Defensive resilience

Bellerin showed his prowess in the defensive third as he caused problems for Portuguese winger, Bruma. The full-back was not dribbled past a single time during the game and won 100% of his duels. 

Bellerin has struggled defensively this season and one of the most notable games was when Aston Villa visited the Emirates in November. Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley caused a lot of problems for the 25-year-old and it looked like he was very much out of his depth. 

Bellerin also cleared the ball twice but his most important defensive contribution was an important block soon after the Olympiakos equaliser.

The ball was cut back to goalscorer Youssef El Arabi near the penalty spot but Bellerin slid across to block the shot and saved Arsenal from a misery compiler. 

  • Surprise attack

As mentioned earlier, Cedric has offered a much better attacking threat in recent months which has seen Bellerin been dropped to the bench on a few occasions. Although, last night he showed that he can still offer help in the attacking third. 

After only six minutes Bellerin almost got an assist as he put in a cross for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but his effort was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Jose Sa. He went on to complete 100% of his take-ons which allowed him to continue to put in crosses. 

Hector also finished with 87% passing accuracy as he combined very well with both Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka. This ultimately means he can compete with Cedric for the role for the remainder of the season. 

  • The future

Cedric has created good competition for Bellerin this season and now Calum Chambers has joined the race for a starting place with a confident display against Burnley. 

Bellerin is Arsenal's longest-serving player at the club as he looks to complete his seventh season in June. He has been linked with a move away from north London in the summer with French giants PSG likely to be potential buyers. Brighton's Tariq Lamptey has also been identified as a potential replacement if there is a sale. 

If Bellerin can build on this performance until the end of the season, Mikel Arteta will have no choice but to reconsider the future of his national compatriot.