Bellerin on lacking creativity, missing Tierney & Leno


Hector Bellerin says Arsenal lacked a spark and a little bit of luck as Crystal Palace dug out a 0-0 draw at the Emirates. 

Here’s what the Spaniard said when he faced the Sky Sports cameras. 

On a difficult night…

They did defend really well with loads of players. We tried to break that low block but I feel that little spark that little bit of creativity, that shot or chance you can sometimes get was missing today. We can’t fault the team for the effort, we tried really hard defensively and offensively. Today we didn’t have that little bit of luck we needed. Obviously, credit to them, They did really well as well, they knew what they were coming here for and they’re a team that on the counter-attack can be really dangerous. They played their game and go home with a point. 

On lacking a spark…

When you play against teams that defend with so many players sometimes the spaces are rally short and it’s hard to play balls in behind because there’s not much space. As I say, sometimes it just takes one moment in the game to open the scoring. Once the game is one-nil, the spaces come up because the other team is trying to score a goal. We didn’t score the chances we had in the first half so then we knew we had to suffer to break them down but it wasn’t our day to do that today. 

On whether we missed Tierney…

Yeah, I think so. We do miss every player when they’re not on the pitch. We have great players coming back. Ainsley did a great job again filling in, he’s such a versatile player, but it’s true that Kieran also was enjoying very good form. We did miss that probably on the left side but we have some talented players in many areas who can come in. We’re not a team that boils down to one player. We need to find ways to be creative, to break down other teams whatever the challenges they give us. We need to keep improving on that. 

On Leno’s performance…

Bernd is a great goalkeeper. He always has two or three saves that saves us every single game. I think we had our chances at the other end as well. We’re happy with a clean sheet. In that sense, we’re improving. Not just from the keeper, the whole team. In the last few minutes of the game there was a counter attack and you could see the whole team was running back, no matter what. There’s positives to this evening, the clean sheet, but there’s a long way to go for us still. 

On feeling disappointed…

Yeah, of course. We’ve been enjoying winning lately. We know that doing everything we can, we’re working really hard, doing what the boss tells us to do but sometimes football games are like this, you know? You cannot win all of them. We are in part of a process. We feel we understand each other on the pitch and the way the coach wants us to play more and more but sometimes it’s just down to the final shot or decision. Today, we weren’t as good in that situation. 

On getting the spark back…

We need to keep going, keep trying. It’s not a thing where we have it and then we don’t have it. Against Chelsea we scored three goals, against West Brom we scored four, so we have it in us. Sometimes different teams propose different challenges that you have to overtake. We don’t just have to think about us, we need to see that Crystal Palace did a really, really good game. They defended really good, they were aggressive, they were tactically very compact and it’s credit to them. 

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If our transfer department had any sense, we’d be looking for great crossing talents for full-back positions reinforcements (after we are done buying creative midfielders).

The team is extremely lacking in good and accurate passers and crossers. Tierney and Saka the only ones who got crosses in them.

Hope we put some money on modern full-backs on both wings, Tierney profile players.


Why the down votes? Do you disagree its a priority or is it the player profiles? I’ve assumed crossing to be general delivery from those areas of the pitch e.g the low cross to the far post which auba thrives on

Ray's ice cream Parlour

Really interesting article – thanks for link.


Yes, great article. The Derby lad, looks good and at a good price. Credit Bayern scouting team for scooping up Richards, his metrics are off the charts. It’s a wonder why a big English team couldn’t get him? Especially with Brexit impacts coming. Would be really wise for Arsenal to make a move on a quality young LB and as I said below cash in on AMN now before he begins to lose value with his limited playing time and as his contract begins to wind down (2-year left in the summer).


I was slated for stating we should have sold high on AMN in the summer, now we’ll be lucky to get 20M quid for him, probably more in the 15M price range and he looks to be what he is. His touch and end product just aren’t there. He is a good defender, which is why he’s suited to the FB role, I don’t understand people still clamouring for AMN through the middle. He just doesn’t have the control or passing for it. We either accept him as a role player like he is, but that will mean probably losing… Read more »


Sold high? Wolves’ offer was just £15m.
This is pure revisionism, he’d just got an England call up and had performed better than Bellerin on the way to the fa cup. Very few wanted him sold, especially at that price. When goal-less Brewster goes for 23m and your academy lad with 100 appearances and a senior England cap doesn’t even fetch 15, I can see why they held on.


I’m sure we could have got more, but when you flat out refuse a sale then most teams go away. He’s a solid player, but people get way to carried away with an England cap, like its the most valued thing in all of football. As a non-English fan, it’s really not. AMN is a solid player, but like I have said. In the summer he is down to 24 months left and he isn’t playing enough to justify a large transfer fee from any team right now. He’s fast and a good defender, but while he rots on our… Read more »


My point still stands. This is revisionism. I agree that his value is depreciating, but 15m was the offer at the time, which you now say we would likely get for him. So his value hasn’t depreciated..
He has been mismanaged with not enough minutes. Although would you be surprised if Bellerin gets injured and he starts 5 games in a row his stock rises again. 15m last summer was a low ball offer which I would not have accepted. Especially as wolves spunked 35m on Samedo two weeks later.


I agree about the value last summer, but from all reports we said he wasn’t leaving and Arteta convinced him to stay (strange given how little he’s played him). Wolves put in a first bid, Arsenal do that all the time. It’s mostly to show interest and see if there is a chance and get negotiations rolling. The fact it stopped at that point showed we didn’t want to sell, which seems like a weird call considering how far down the pecking order he fell. Right now he has a chance, but he hasn’t taken his chances this season and… Read more »


He is generally very good, but not Thursday.

Paul Roberts

We tried the crossing thing remember??


Arteta has identitified this game as one of two that will determine our season. What does this result portend?


Good question. Of course MA is blowing smoke with that comment, and its blindingly clear we needed 3 pts. against an crappy palace side. It means we are solidly mid table. This is a rebuilding project. Expecting anything other than this sort of dross is wishful thinking. Here’s a question: whats partey done to justify the 50M? Nothing, in my book. Auba is a huge HUGE disappointment. The biggest fuck up beside Pepe, and Willian, and Luiz, and Cedric, and Mustafi – christ, thats a long list – was giving out that retirement contract to Auba. He’s a shadow of… Read more »


Actually he’s been just as bad as Pepe and Willian the only reason he doesn’t get so much criticism is because of what he did last season but now we can see he only did it to get a big contract


Yet another hindsight expert. I’ve no doubt you were against renewing Auba’s contract at the time (although I don’t remember seeing anyone say that after the cup final).

I personally think that Partey looks an absolute cut above anyone else in the midfield when he plays, but I’m willing to give him more than 6 games to show us what he’s got (unlike your good self).

If we could just free some of the commenters on Arseblog up to become scouts and coaches, surely we’d win the champions league in the next 16 months??

Safe Hands

Partey has been injured for all but 4 games since joining. In one of those, the spurs game, he was clearly playing while injured. One was Man Utd away where he was by far and away the best player on the field. To even start casting negative judgments now is completely ridiculous.


Seriously, he looks a class above what we have in midfield, just a pity he’s been so injured.

I look forward to seeing him alongside Mo/Ceballos and ESR to speed things up in the middle of the pitch – something we clearly lacked again last night with the Ceballos-Xhaka combo. They were both solid, but that is exactly what they are – solid options not players that take us up levels. Partey is the type of player that can take us up a level.

The Arsenal

Mid table obscurity and the worse football in the league


Completely agree I said when we sacked Emery our problems weren’t coaching, and things would likely get worse, rather than better. We’re a mid table team, who are a couple of key injuries away from becoming a bottom half team, who’s looking down nervously, rather than looking up. We’re running Saka into the ground at 19. And if you take out Leno, Tierney, Saka, I’m extremely concerned with not only the quality, but also the character of what’s left. Arteta’s got us set up pretty well, with what he’s working with We’re crying out for a game changing signing, a… Read more »

Reality check

My man thinks he’s our best attacking player. He needs to let them do their job, support them and keep out of their way pls. Needs to back up the media work with performances on the pitch.. needs to be as impressive at least as his recent documentary..


There was a point in the first half where Eze tripped Bellerin in the box. Instead of going down he stumbled and stayed on his feet. I thought at the time this was the turning point in the match. And I can’t understand why nobody else has commented on it? It was ignored by sky and I’ve not seen anything on here about it. Yet again, we are too honest and not street-wise enough.


I saw that and he could have definitely gone down. I was kind of glad he didn’t. Guess I’m a bit old school


Fair enough. Though it would not have been a dive. There was enough contact to make him stumble. I can’t imagine rashford or kane balletically recovering in that situation.. That’s the 3 points right there. It’s all this game needed, a one nil win from a set piece, thanks and move on. We are still too nice.

A Different George

Kane, Vardy, Rashford, Sterling. Basically, any English striker.


Not sure about this Manor Solomon.

Think we should be doing better but who knows, maybe Zahavi will sweet talk Edu and we get another Runnarson signing.


We are very different with one or two key components out. Martinelli saved Arteta by providing the spark and affording Saka to go right. Tierney and Bellerin came to life better with Martinelli on left and Saka right. Then Tierney kicked into great form and now we see how much we miss both. Saka had to carry most of the weight and when he was switched to left back, Bellerin’s relation with players ahead of him suffered. Laca taken off also meant we were less belligerent winning the ball and had one less player to play off ahead of us.… Read more »


HAHA.More nonsense from this clown.Everyone of his posts will now contain the word Mezalla whatever that is and calls for Draxler to be brought into the club.Last season it was Emre Can reckon next season it will be Billy Dane and his magic boots.


You’ve been playing too much FM fam

Granit(e) hard!

Bellerin gave a solid interview, deputy captain stuff and amidst all the disapointment, i think its poignant to acknowledge how well he has developed and matured both on and off the pitch…it is all our doing because he did came here a raw teenager, so eont blame me for feeling like a proud dad😁

Reality check

Developed on the pitch?

No foot Norbert

We can definitely upgrade on bellerin, he’s too limited a player and not good enough at what he does to be a considered specialist.

A Different George

I thought he was clearly our best player in the first half and only Xhaka’s amazing defensive display (it sure as hell amazed me) might have been better over all.


Am I the only one who thinks recalling torreira is a no brainier? He was our best player the second half of the season when he joined, passes forward with tempo, adds leadership and aggression, reads the game superbly = turnovers. I feel along side Partey, his small stature becomes less of an issue. Granted we need a creative midfielder, however most likely this won’t happen this Jan. With the greatest respect to Mo Elneny, who I think is a solid dependable squad player, surely torreira is an upgrade. Even if it hasn’t worked out at athletico, would they come… Read more »


I also agree about torreira. We have a very goof box to box player in him and we’re not using him. He’s wandering around last 2-3 seasons with us as he was not really trusted or used enough by both emery and arteta. Him and partey might be a very dynamic midfield duo we need, and then we can use dani, emile and maybe willock in a no 10 role as they’re not that good defensively.

We have solutions inside, we’re just not using them.


I agree with Dawie, but I don’t agree with Torreira being a box-to-box type. That is how emery used him, or even more advanced in an AM role. He isn’t creative enough for that. Now play him as a pure DM, as he has excelled in Italy and for Uruguay and he might be able to do a job alongside Partey. Maybe? Concern is still his size and strength, but maybe Xhaka, Ceballos, et al., were just ill-suited partners for him. For sure we need to find the ideal midfield still. Partey seems miles ahead of the others and I’m… Read more »

No foot Norbert

Torriera isn’t good enough either, that’s due to his mentality either because he doesn’t want to play for arsenal or other reasons. He isn’t the answer to getting us back in to the top 4. The whole squad needs an overhaul max 6 players are good enough for top 4 proven by the fact we haven’t been there for years and are even further away this season. 8th is around our level at the moment.


We need a pedantic comma related discussion about that, headline.

The Far Post

Yes, thought Leno somehow got hurt post match 😀 Got me really scared.


Same here 🙂



santi's thigh grab

Don’t get me started on the ampersand.

A Different George

Are we ever likely to play Oxford, united?


No creativity in the middle, Auba Pepe Ceballios = EXIT ONCE FOR ALL


Ah yes creativity…. oh sorry it’s because a defender was injured. The best Arsenal creator is still home though…


Lego creator? That’s what he does probably with not much else to do, fortnite as well…


Everyone knows the reason why we lack creativity. Everyone.

But only a few of us on here will acknowledge it.

And the manager is still in denial, because his ego is more important to him than the state of this football club.


We could barely get the ball to ESR and Laca tonight, that was a midfield issue. ESR has provided a massive spark and he carries the defensive duties that are required of modern AMs. At least you’re not mentioning the phantom’s name anymore. That is a significant step forward ol’ pal.

No foot Norbert

Lol Alex is right, we rely on 2 18 year olds and a lb for all our creativity it’s abysmal and it’s reflected in the boring football we play. This one is on shoddy recruitment and internal corruption/embezzlement tied in with an inept owner. I don’t blame arteta nor do I blame the players for not being good enough they took their opportunity to be overpaid like any of us would.

No foot Norbert

Just to clarify I think arteta is a good manager and will be fantastic. I was more eluding the players being overpaid

Eddy F

Anyone watching Hector’s documentary about his injury and rehab on youtube?

Great watch, very insightful and interesting, would recommend.

With regards to playing, he has clearly been instructed to tuck inside a lot and not overlap his winger. With Saka and Pepe currently the choices on the right they end up not creating space for each other. I feel like Nelson on the right could change this if given a chance, but he clearly isn’t rated by Arteta.


The team suddenly looked quite imbalanced without Tierney. It was hardly a surprise that AMN had such a poor game, as he has barely played in months.


Candid interview as ever from Hector. It was a drab affair last night and we struggled no question but he’s right in the sense that Palace obviously came with a game plan and executed it very well. They’re a decent team when they get it right and the fact we haven’t beaten them in 5 proves that. Disappointed not to take 3 points but I don’t think alarm bells should be ringing after our recent run. Having said that, we need to step up offensively against Newcastle and get three points because our home record is incredibly poor. If we… Read more »


Am I the only Gooner that’s a tad worried that the team apparently goes from heroes to zeroes because of the absence of one player (albeit one that’s been on good form)? We have a huge (too big) and very costly (wage bill still far too high) squad, but can’t accommodate the absence of a single player? Goodness knows what will happen if he’s out for any extended period then. The lesson that should be learned is that for all the talk about the possibility of a top four finish (prior to the Palace game – not so much of… Read more »

Mart Poom

Maybe I imagined it, but in the second half especially, Palace would play 4 players in their left back defensive zone. I think they felt no outside threat against Maitland-Niles and Auba, so they overloaded our right. Saka and Bellerin had to work very hard to achieve any joy. By the time Arteta moved Saka to left back, Saka had lost some zip and we had an extremely narrow front three of Auba, Laca, Pepe, which is exactly not what is effective against a low block. Think we are in need of a left sided winger for the first team… Read more »


Well, it’s this old thing. What do you do when your team mates have the ball? The players have improved a little, but it’s still difficult to find somebody to play to, particularly in the forward direction. People hide, people think to slowly. People are stationary. People run to early, or the passes come to late, so runs have had to be halted, to avoid offside. Mojo. Also, what are we doing when they win the ball: Do we press their back line? Or do we fall off? In this game, we did neither (Eddie pressed when he came on).… Read more »