Hector Bellerin has arguably become indispensable this season, but it looks like we may have to do without the Spaniard for our FA Cup clash with Sunderland this weekend. Bellerin is currently in Amsterdam with his girlfriend, and posted a picture that suggests he will be handed a break by Arsene Wenger over the next few days.
Weekend break in Amsterdam pic.twitter.com/kyUsYSoNpa
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) January 6, 2016
The caption suggests Bellerin hasn’t just popped over to the Netherlands for a night or two, but is there for a weekend trip. With our FA Cup match versus Sunderland coming up this Saturday, unless Bellerin has totally misunderstood the concept of a weekend (which seems unlikely), then we’ll be without the right-back.
This means we are likely to see Mathieu Debuchy start in his place, and based on recent performances that is a scary thought. The Frenchman has been poor every time he’s taken to the field this season, and hasn’t looked the same player since his injuries last season. Whether there’s something physically wrong with him or whether he’s been mentally crippled by losing his place to a 20-year-old Bellerin, something’s clearly not right, and we haven’t been able to rely on the former Newcastle full-back.
Debuchy has been linked with an Arsenal exit recently (via the Mirror), with West Brom and Aston Villa among a number of clubs reportedly interested in his services. We don’t have many options available at right-back, but if Arsene Wenger opts for Calum Chambers or a member of the youth squad then we’ll know Debuchy’s Arsenal career is all but over.
If the 30-year-old were to leave the club this January then Wenger would need to bring a replacement in, as we can’t go through the campaign with only one right-back. We’ve seen how much we miss key players when they’re unavailable, and when we’ve had to rely on the likes of Debuchy, David Ospina, and Mikel Arteta, we’ve struggled badly.
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We should have enough about us to beat Sunderland even with a few of our second string stars starting, but we can’t afford to be without Bellerin for too long.