Wednesday 17 July 2019

Bellerin set to be ruled out for season if ACL fears confirmed

The best-case scenario is that Bellerin suffered a meniscus tear rather than a cruciate injury, but club doctors are expecting the Spaniard to be out for some time. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
The best-case scenario is that Bellerin suffered a meniscus tear rather than a cruciate injury, but club doctors are expecting the Spaniard to be out for some time. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Matt Law

Hector Bellerin could miss the rest of the season if scans confirm Arsenal's worst fears over the right-back's knee injury.

Bellerin went off on a stretcher in Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Saturday with suspected cruciate ligament damage. Head coach Unai Emery admitted it could be an "important injury", but a scan will have to wait until the pain settles.

The best-case scenario is that Bellerin suffered a meniscus tear rather than a cruciate injury, but club doctors are expecting the Spaniard to be out for some time.

If scans confirm ACL damage, then Arsenal believe Bellerin would be out for a similar period to Rob Holding, sidelined for six to nine months with the same injury.

Bellerin's lay-off is a huge blow, as he had just returned from injury to Arsenal's starting line-up and played well against Chelsea before suffering knee damage while stretching for the ball. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson are potential replacements for him.

Emery also insisted Mesut Ozil still has a role to play, despite being left out of his starting line-up and playing no part against Chelsea.

Arsenal are thought to be willing to subsidise some of Ozil's £350,000-a-week wages to get rid of him, but Emery has not ruled out bringing the German back.

Ozil has not started or played for Arsenal since St Stephen's Day, when he was substituted at half-time against Brighton.

Emery said: "Today he was OK to play, but we decided not to play him. I spoke with him. The next matches we are going to need every player and also his quality."

Emery preferred Aaron Ramsey to Ozil for the Chelsea game, even though the Welshman has agreed to move to Juventus in the summer.

"The decision is finished for him and the club," Emery said. "Now I am very, very happy with him because the last month his focus with us has been very clear."

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