Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Who is Hector Bellerin?

A look at the 19-year-old right-back that could start against the Bundesliga club

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The Independent Online

With Mathieu Debuchy ruled out of action for up to three months and Calum Chambers struggling with tonsillitis, Arsenal are facing a defensive crisis ahead of their opening Champions League Group D encounter against Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal latest score

Chambers is only rated 50-50 for the tie at the Westfalenstadion, while Nacho Monreal has also been left in London having picked up a minor back injury. With this in mind, manager Arsene Wenger has elected to take 19 players to Germany for the tie, with 19-year-old right-back Hector Bellerin among the ranks.

Bellerin has just one Arsenal appearance to his name, but he comes with a big reputation – simply because he beat Theo Walcott’s 40m sprint time, and that takes some doing – but the question is who is Hectoc Bellerin?

 

Who is he?

Bellerin was born in Barcelona where he came through the youth ranks before the Gunners spotted him in 2011. Aged just 16, Bellerin made the switch to the Premier League as he signed a youth deal with the Gunners, before going on to agree professional terms two years later. He has already represented Spain at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 level, and he made nine appearances for Championship side Watford last season.

Is he good enough to play in the Champions League?

Arsene Wenger believes so, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken him. With Chambers struggling after being struck down with tonsillitis, Bellerin could be thrown in at the deep end should Wenger choose him over makeshift right-back Mathieu Flamini. As mentioned, the teenager managed to beat Walcott’s club sprint record, and he certainly uses his pace as a key aspect of his game.

He would also slot in alongside former Germany international Per Mertesacker, and while his speed will come in handy for the slow-moving centre-back, he can return the favour by using his experience and positional awareness to coach Bellerin through the game – something that should not be sniffed at.

Why are Arsenal so short on defenders already?

Wenger may have brought in Debuchy and Chambers, but he saw Bacary Sagna join Manchester City after his contract expired and sold Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona during the summer transfer window. The two-in, two-out at the Emirates meant that Arsenal remained with just six first-team defenders, and that number has already been whittled down with Debuchy set to be ruled out until at least December.

Both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal have struggled with injuries recently, while Chambers is currently the only back up option at both centre-back and on the right flank. Bellerin has made just one appearance for Arsenal having come on for Mikel Arteta in the 1-1 Capital One Cup draw against West Bromwich Albion last season, and he looks likely to make his European bow before playing his first match in the Premier League.

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