Arsenal: Wenger on Bellerin future; Ramsey absence explained; Xhaka on Premier League
Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the media this morning prior to Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Swansea on Saturday, and was asked about the future of Hector Bellerin. The 21-year-old is quickly developing into one of the world’s best right backs and has been linked with a move back to Barcelona or to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Mathieu Debuchy suffered torn ankle ligaments and then a dislocated shoulder during his first season at the club, which gave Bellerin his chance. Despite a few nervy performances initially, something to be expected, Bellerin has made sure that the French international has not go a look in since. Known for his raw speed, the Spaniard has exponentially improved as a defender and opponents get very little change out of him. Wenger showered him with praise today, stating:
“He has been absolutely fantastic,” Wenger said. “Let’s not forget that in his first game he had a nightmare when I played him, and the year before he was at Watford – he didn’t play.
“His progress has been absolutely spectacular because he has top mental strength.
“I think he loves as well to be here and he has responsibilities already in the dressing room for such a young age. It’s something remarkable.”
That ‘nightmare’ Wenger recalled was Arsenal’s 2014 Champions League group stage game away in Borussia Dortmund when Bellerin made his debut. The Gunners lost 2-0 on the night, but the scoreline could have been far heavier as they were run ragged by Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side. A few weeks later, Arsenal found themselves 3-0 down at half time away at Stoke with Bellerin at right back. However, he has gone from strength to strength since then; a turning point perhaps being his exemplary performance in Arsenal’s 2-0 away win at Manchester City in January 2015. He seems happy in London, though a return to Barcelona must hold some allure. That said, he has plenty of time to make this move later in his career and can continue developing at Arsenal.
Elsewhere, the Arsenal boss finally gave some more details regarding Aaron Ramsey’s extended layoff due to a hamstring problem. The Welshman has been on the sidelines since limping off during Arsenal’s opening weekend defeat to Liverpool and has missed key games for club and country. The initial diagnosis was that the hamstring problem was not too serious, so there were rumours beginning to circle of a problem behind the scenes between player and manager. Wenger though, took the opportunity to clear the issue up:
“He had a little setback, so we rested him. The longer that lasts, the more time you have to dedicate to build up his fitness again because he has been out for four weeks.
“Then you have to basically create a new three-week preparation to get him up to the level he was at before the injury. It’s more the time it takes to rebuild his fitness.
“We have decided that we’ll give him a complete pre-season.”
Finally, summer singing Granit Xhaka has admitted that the Premier League is tougher physically than the Bundesliga and that the expectations at Arsenal are far higher than at Borussia Monchengladbach. The Swiss international has been used cautiously by Wenger so far, perhaps because new partnerships were bedding in at the back and up front. The Frenchman places a good deal of stock in the principle of cohesion, and it seems as if he was reluctant to throw in a new midfield partnership on top of all that change. Xhaka has cut a classy presence whenever he has played, and Wenger might look to bed him in now other areas of the team have settled down.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal
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