By Walter Broeckx
Next in our series where we look back at last season we move on to the right back.
A whole lot of data about the main players in that position. At the start of the season all eyes were at Debuchy to step in the footsteps of Sagna. I was one of the few who looked behind Debuchy and said that Bellerin would be the man for that position…in two years. Well I was wrong I must admit… it was more like two months.
I didn’t include Chambers as it is already more than difficult enough to compare two players let alone 3. But he also played at right back. But with Wenger saying that the future of Chambers is more down the middle I decided that we just would stick to the two players who have been playing in the right back position and who have a past and for some certainly a future in this position.
A lot of key facts for both players.
|Mathieu Debuchy||Hector Bellerin|
|72.5%||Passing accuracy opp. half||80.8%|
|64.7%||Duels won %||46.5%|
|45||Aerial Duels won||19|
|15||Aerial duels lost||32|
|75%||Aerial duels won %||37.3%|
|73.1%||Tackles won %||79.5%|
|808||Minutes per goal||780.5|
|4||Total shots on target||4|
|3||Total shots off target||0|
|0%||Successful crosses %||13.9%|
To my surprise Bellerin played almost the double of matches of Debuchy. 10 versus 20. So in many cases we do need to look at the % of some stats because obviously for some numbers it does matter a lot if you have played double the time compared to the other player.
Bellerin having almost double the passes tells us nothing. But looking at the passing accuracy we see that Bellerin is slightly better than Debuchy. And also the passing accuracy in the opposition half it is Bellerin who leads this table with more than 80% compared to the 72% of Debuchy.
If however we look at the duels we see that there is not much difference between the two players numbers but in % it is clear that Debuchy is a much stronger defender having won 64,7% of his duels compared to only 46,5% for Bellerin. If we only look at Aerial duels we see an even bigger difference. In % Debuchy has won 75% of his aerial duels and Bellerin only 37.3%. Now both players have the same height (1.77m) and so we have to admit that Debuchy is doing much better in this part of the game than Bellerin.
Also when it comes to blocks and clearances the numbers of Debuchy are much better than those of Bellerin. But when it comes to reading the game it is Bellerin who is better at intercepting passes. Even if we look at the numbers of matches we can see that Bellerin is making more than the double of interceptions compared to Debuchy.
Both players have scored goals but they need around 800 minutes to score a goal. Defending is the main task of a defender of course but going forward is very important as a right back also and in going forward I think the stats are very much in favour of Bellerin.
In fact the shooting accuracy of Bellerin is 100% to only 57% for Debuchy. Whenever Bellerin shoots he hits the target and either he scores or the keeper has to save his shot. Bellerin also has better stats with the successful crosses. In fact Debuchy had no successful crosses at all in his 10 matches. Bellerin has just under 14% successful crosses. Both players do have a lot of unsuccessful crosses.
Bellerin had also 1 assist and Debuchy 0. And when it comes to creating chances we see that Bellerin has 12 and Debuchy only 2.
So what does this give as a conclusion for both players?
The better defender of the two is Debuchy for me. Maybe this is down to the fact that Bellerin always has been played in a more advanced role than Debuchy has done during the last years. Debuchy is the harder defender it seems with a lot of experience. Bellerin plays more on his technical skills when he defends. Trying more to intercept than to tackle. It is also clear to see that Debuchy can win aerial duels and that is of course why Debuchy can also play in the centre of the defence. Bellerin is a player who cannot play there for the moment because his lack of physical presence in that position.
So in any Mourinho team Debuchy would play at right back. But this is Arsenal and as we need our full backs to join in the attack it looks to me that Bellerin has all the attributes it takes to become a great right back for many years to come. His attacking skills are much better than those of Debuchy.
Bellerin has been lucky with the injuries sustained by Debuchy. Wenger gave him his chance at the most difficult of places to go to in Dortmund. Bellerin had a difficult match, struggled but never lost his confidence in his own ability. And rightfully so. Because his potential is immense.
I said almost 2 years ago that in Bellerin we could have a defender like Danni Alves from Barcelona. Quick, small frame, technical ability and great going forward with sometimes some weaknesses when it comes to real defending. But at Arsenal we usually do the attacking and defending is only being done when we are forced to do it.
The big problem for Bellerin is to pick up on his defending. Whenever Debuchy is playing he should look and learn a few things because Debuchy clearly knows how to defend and how and when to make small fouls that doesn’t cost yellow cards. Bellerin has to watch how Debuchy uses his smaller body to outjump bigger opponents in the air. If he can add that to his already impressive skills over the next months and years he is going to be better than any right back we have ever had.
I trust Wenger to make him even better next season. I do admit I am wetting my pants just by thinking of Bellerin becoming a better defender than he already is and still adding to the attack like he did last season.
My prediction for next season…. A difficult one. When we are expected to struggle against a team and defending might be forced upon us I would go for Debuchy still… but when it comes to matches where Arsenal will dominate and go forward for 90 minutes my man would be Bellerin. Both players can be very valuable but it is clear to me that Bellerin will be the future for Arsenal at right back. If the future starts today will something that remains to be seen however. But needless to say that I am a big, big, big fan of Hector.