Burnley Pre-Match Stuff and Some Thoughts on Bellerin
“The Boss is here”
These are the exact quotes the official Arsenal Twitter account uses when Arsene Wenger is gearing himself for another routine press conference before a game. I’ve asked myself this question before – How many press conferences has the boss attended? Your guess is as good as mine.
The manager was generous enough to provide some injury updates ahead of tomorrow’s game. Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta all featured against Stoke U-21s and the manager has confirmed that they’d be available for selection tomorrow, which is great news. Matt Debuchy is still working his way to full fitness but he couldn’t feature in the Stoke U-21s game because you can only feature three over-aged players (wow! so Wilshere is over-aged? lol) in the U-21 competition. He wasn’t to confident about Wojciech Szczesny’s fitness but he stated that Laurent Koscielny will have to face a late fitness test. As it stands, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the only injured player in the team, which is quite strange for a club like Arsenal so renowned for having many injuries.
The boss had some nice words to say about Olivier Giroud and stated that the team has found some measure of cohesion, which has contributed to the great performances on the pitch. At the start of the season, the club suffered many injuries, especially in defense and that unbalanced back line suffered the ramifications of the club’s failure to sign a replacement for the departed Thomas Vermaelen. Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and even Debuchy featured in the middle alongside Per Mertesacker and further up the pitch, there was a period when the club didn’t have any fit central midfielder, which ultimately led to the recall of Francis Coquelin, and the rest they say is history.
In recent weeks, Wenger has trusted a specific set of players to do the business on the pitch and the ‘cohesion’ was epitomized in Giroud’s opener against West Ham. The passing play, the movement, the fluidity was just awesome. The boss also gave some insight on his squad building approach, where he stated how he tries to find that perfect blend between youth and experience. This season, many youngsters have featured for the club under different circumstances and while some have grabbed their chances with both hands, others, well, can’t be put in the same category.
Take the case of young Emiliano Martinez for instance, Szczesny suffered a knock, David Ospina still had his post-World Cup injuries, so the young lad had to stay between the sticks for a couple of games. He had a couple of clean sheets here and there but he struggled a bit in the defeat to Stoke. Ospina and Szczesny are clearly above the lad and when they got fit, he was shipped out to Rotherham United. In defense, Calum Chambers had a great start to his Arsenal career but in my honest opinion, he played far too many games and it took its toll on his form and fitness.
Hector Bellerin is another player that has had his luck shine on like a star with Carl Jenkinson shipped out on loan to West Ham and Debuchy suffering some unfortunate injuries. His debut against Dortmund was a baptism of fire for the young Spaniard but as he got more games he got better. He has even scored two beautiful goals, which were fully deserved for his brilliant play on the day.
However, much of Bellerin’s success can be attributed to the help he received from the other players. He recently stated that the senior players make him feel like he’s part of the family. Not those crazy folks in the Robert de Niro movie, a real Arsenal family,
“We’re all a team, the [senior players] have helped me since the beginning and are my. They are all really good people. They have been young players as well so they help you in everything they can, they make you feel like one more in the dressing room. That is really important, and as you get older that is what you need to do with younger players.
“There always has to be a transition between older players and the younger players. We are lucky at this club, young players get the opportunities and it is important that you take them. That is the way to get a place in the team and I am just really happy to be getting my minutes.
“Every single minute you play is like training, it helps you a lot and it gives you experience. With the back up of the players I have around me, it makes you look good as well. I will just work hard at training and try to improve myself, so I am glad people are seeing this improvement.
“I feel really comfortable right now, like one more in the team and that is something that you need to have if you really want to understand players in the game.”
Along with Francis Coquelin, Bellerin has been one of the finds of the season and I hope his good run of form continues. Debuchy is working his way to full fitness but he would know that three’s a dependable player that can be called on when the situation demands it. That man is Hector Bellerin.
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