Arsenal have confirmed that Hector Bellerin sustained a serious knee injury during the Chelsea clash on Saturday and will therefore be sidelined for between six and nine months.
The Spaniard, making his first start since mid-December, went down in pain under no contact and it was clearly more than just a knock. He was stretchered off and will undergo surgery for the injury in the coming days, however his rehabilitation is expected to consume the remainder of the season.
Bellerin’s misery may be matched by that of Unai Emery, who has consequently been left short of quality options at right-back – Stephan Lichtsteiner is past it, Carl Jenkinson isn’t good enough and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while full of potential, isn’t a natural defender.
The 23-year-old’s huge setback took the glint off an otherwise perfect 90 minutes from the Gunners, who were excellent from back to front as they emerged 2-0 victors over their London rivals, with Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette getting on the scoresheet.
Despite being a bit of a scapegoat for Arsenal in previous years, Bellerin has come a long way under Emery – he has chalked up five assists this season, according to Transfermarkt – however his bad luck means he won’t be able to contribute any further to the Spaniard’s first season.
Here’s how the Emirates Stadium faithful reacted to the news on Twitter…
Take my knee hector!!
— мια (@miatheramseyfan) January 22, 2019
— Colette Deery (@Colettskii) January 22, 2019
4th place gone
— Belete H (@belete_h) January 22, 2019
Heartbreaking news…he on good form…wish bellerin speed recovery
— jack zaha (@parthi9192) January 22, 2019
This is just not fair?
— Nick09? (@NGymer1) January 22, 2019
— linda – inger ? (@girlgooner) January 22, 2019
Sigh. One of our better players this season. All the best with recovery
— El Che (@SegunEmdin) January 22, 2019
Please get another right back now cos i don’t trust the remaining ones on the bench especially the old man
— Teewhy Ozone (@Teephemmy) January 22, 2019