La Masia graduate Hector Bellerin returned to the Catalan capital this summer as a result of Barcelona’s desperate attempts to find a right-back. The 27-year-old has been a mainstay on the Arsenal side ever since he joined the club in 2011. Barcelona signed many players this summer in their effort to bring the club back to its former glory. However, a homecoming has not worked out well for Hector Bellerin, as he had to sit out for some time due to some injuries and couldn’t perform well when he came on. He was criticised for his performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League and has not managed to win the locals’ affection back.
We look at some stats to understand why Hector Bellerin’s return to his boyhood club has not gone according to plan.
Hector Bellerin has only played three matches in La Liga this season and two in the Champions League. He hasn’t won Xavi’s trust yet, as he has only started one match in the league and was brought on as a sub in the other two.
The above viz shows the defensive territory of Hector Bellerin. He is an overlapping wing-back and goes up the field to support the wingers too. But this has turned out to be more of a bane than a boon as the 27-year-old has failed to track back in time to stop the counter-attacks. However, he does win the ball in high areas due to his high positioning. He also makes an average of 3.74 interceptions per game. Bellerin makes an average of 5.71 defensive duels per game with 55% accuracy and 1.77 aerial duels with 44.4% accuracy.
Bellerin stays on the right side and tries to contribute to the attack by overlapping and providing passes into the final third. His positioning has also been under scrutiny after he played Bayern players onside, which led to goals. Bellerin tries to stay inward when he goes forward, allowing the likes of Ousmane Dembele to stay wide on the pitch. He rarely gets into the opposition penalty box and prefers to whip crosses into the box instead. This has also been frowned upon, as putting crosses in the box isn’t the “Barcelona way.”
Bellerin has a good passing stat and a passing accuracy of 85.3%. He usually stays on the right side and finds the winger or crosses into the box. Bellerin plays an average of 7.09 passes into the final third with 77% accuracy and 2.76 passes into the penalty box with 85.7% success. But Bellerin has often lost possession due to a poor first touch, which has led to counterattacks. He loses the ball 7.88 times per game on average, which is more than affordable.
The above viz compares the radars of Hector Bellerin and Alejandro Balde, a player Xavi has trusted to play in the right-back position over the former in recent games. Balde has higher accuracy in passing, better dribbling, and is good defensively as well. Even though Hector Bellerin wins more aerial duels than young Balde, that has not been enough for him to earn a regular place in the team.
Hector Bellerin’s return to the shores of Barcelona has not been a success story, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they decide to part ways with each other after the current contract expires. Sometimes injuries let him down, while sometimes he did that himself. Either way, Hector Bellerin will have to find a way to amend these mistakes if he wants to play for Xavi’s Barcelona.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine