Hector Bellerin says Arsenal need to take the positives from yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Leeds even though more dropped points means we’ve lost further ground in our quest to finish in the top four.
Desperate to bounce back from the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa and with one eye on closing the widening gap on league leaders Sp*rs, the Gunners arrived in the North West under pressure to secure a win.
As it turned out, we were lucky to snatch a draw after clinging on for a clean sheet despite Nicolas Pepe’s straight red card six minutes into the second half.
“I have to say I have loads of mixed feelings about the game,” Bellerin told Arsenal.com.
“As a football player, the sentence ‘being happy with a draw’ doesn’t really resonate with me. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are or if you’re down to 10 men, I’m someone that always wants to win especially when we were able to in some situations.
“I think the game, at the end, was defined by small margins. They hit the post a couple of times, we had a few free-kicks and corners towards the end that we didn’t make use of. In these kinds of games, those are the chances that you need to take.
“At the end of the day, we looked solid at the back and we demonstrated that playing with 10 men and even against a team like Leeds, who are a team that don’t get tired and go at you for the 95 minutes of the game. We still managed to keep them at bay and we need to take those positives.
“As a football player, I feel like even with 10 men I still want to win. I don’t want to approach the game with a mindset that we’re down to 10 men so now we have an excuse not to win this game.”
In the closing stages of the game, Bellerin created our best chance of the game, threading a fine pass to Bukayo Saka who couldn’t beat keeper Illan Meslier. Had the England international found the net, the players would have been well-placed to secure a famous backs-against-the-wall win. Instead, the narrative is very much focused on our current inability to create and take chances with more regularity.
Bellerin is philosophical about the knife-edge on which Arsenal currently exist.
“A lot of people don’t want to talk about luck but sometimes it comes down to these things. It comes down to training, it comes down to practice, it comes down to being inspired and making the right decision in the game,” he said.
“Football is not black and white, there are so many things that happen in that football pitch, so many things that condition the way you play and the decisions you make.
“Sometimes we made the right decisions, sometimes we don’t. I think that’s why football is so beautiful and so unpredictable at the same time. If every time there was a striker that was one-on-one against a keeper and scored, it would be boring.
“It’s just about keeping working the way that we are. We have the right culture at the club and the right approach now, and I think we just need to keep the results coming, build our confidence, believe in what the manager wants from us.”