By Harry Sykes
Gary Neville savaged Hector Bellerin for his puny attempts at stopping Marcos Alonso breaking the deadlock in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
Goals from Alonso, Eden Hazard and substitute Cesc Fabregas left the Gunners’ title hopes in tatters and meant Olivier Giroud’s late consolation was meaningless.
The home side capitalised on some pressure to take the lead after 13 minutes had been played of Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League showdown.
Diego Costa had thumped a Pedro cross onto the crossbar and the looping rebound resulted in a 50-50 between Bellerin and Alonso, which was emphatically won by the Chelsea wing-back.
The Spaniard, 26, smashed his countryman into the air and Bellerin was left flat on his back while the ball nestled low in the net with Cech stranded.
Right-back Bellerin had lost the first header to Costa and then the second to the scorer as his defensive qualities were laid bare.
“It’s just a height thing, an aggression thing,” said pundit Neville on Sky Sports 1’s live coverage of the match. “Alonso v Bellerin, there is no chance. Alsono is bigger than him, stronger than him. He has battered him and nearly put him into the back of the net at the same time. It’s a back-breaker for Bellerin.
“It typifies where the two teams are at. I have some sympathy for Bellerin there, he had no chance. Alonso had the run on him. He needed the keeper but I’m not sure Petr Cech knew where the ball was.
“The only thing he can do as the smaller player is somehow barge the player as comes in to halt his run.”
A dazed Bellerin was immediately substituted due to injury and he was replaced by Gabriel Paulista.
Arsenal were overwhelmed by league leaders Chelsea, who extended their lead at the top of the table to a mammoth 12 points.
In other Arsenal news, Chris Sutton has claimed Tottenham are better run than their great north London rivals.