Although it never really seemed to be in our control, a number of fans were still furious when Bacary Sagna was allowed to leave the club this past summer.
We have arguably replaced him twofold however, with the right-back position actually looking one of our strongest at the moment.
The Frenchman made the inevitable move to Manchester City, leaving Arsenal fans crying out for a new face at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger obliged, bringing both Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers to the club; although shocked a few people with his decision to let Carl Jenkinson join West Ham United on loan for the entirety of the season.
- [Player ratings] Arsenal 1-2 Wolves – Auba flops and pressure on Arteta
- [Team news] Arsenal line up vs Wolves – Arteta’s dilemma with three out
- [Player ratings] Molde 0-3 Arsenal – Balogun scores as Gunners cruise
Debuchy has been fantastic when utilised this campaign, and has proven himself a superb replacement for Sagna. Two freak injuries have essentially destroyed his season however, meaning Wenger has had to rely on youth far more than he would have liked.
In stepped Chambers, who did surprisingly well considering he was thrown in at the deep end so soon. He visibly struggled against players with pace or with a trick or two up their sleeves unfortunately, and looks destined to complete his transformation into a a central defender.
The player that really stood out recently though was Hector Bellerin. The young Spaniard lit up the Emirates on Sunday during our 5-0 win over Aston Villa, applying the finishing touch to the game with the final goal of the afternoon.
Getting on the score sheet was an afterthought though, as it was his all round game that was truly impressive. Bellerin showed the wisdom and experience of a far older player, and seemed to get the balance between attack and defence spot on.
The 19-year-old may only have made a handful of appearances at the top level so far, but he has clearly improved vastly since his debut against Borussia Dortmund earlier in the season.
Bellerin appears to have all the attributes required to succeed in the Premier League, and Wenger clearly has faith that the former Barcelona star can make it at the club.
We have seen first hand just how fast the full-back is, but to put it in perspective; he recently beat Theo Walcott’s 40 metre sprint time. This means he is far more capable than Chambers when it comes to recovering from a mistake, as well as making him more of a threat going forward.
Speed is a fantastic weapon for a full-back, but is just one of many important traits. Thankfully it appears as though Bellerin is far more than a one trick pony though, with his entire game on display against Paul Lambert’s side.
His crossing looks solid, while his reading of the game has clearly come on leaps and bounds. He showed good off the ball movement in both attack and defence, and looked constantly alert to any danger Villa may have posed.
This was not his first solid outing, with his performance against Manchester City going under the radar somewhat due to a number of other players playing out of their skins.
Bellerin needs to continue in this current vein if he wants to cement his place as our first choice right-back however, with Debuchy surely keen to regain his spot on his return from injury.