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Thoughts on Hector Bellerin’s Injury and Reviewing Arsenal’s Options at RB

Image result for hector bellerin injury

*removes cobwebs*

*evicts Spiderman – his rent was overdue anyways*

So I haven’t published a post on this blog in four months…

For a guy that has written over 1,500 posts in nine years, it’s simply not good enough, and for that I apologize. I’ve always longed for someone to hold the fort while I am away but that didn’t happen, but it’s not enough not to write in four months. But it’s cool – I’m back like Hector Bellerin would be after six to nine months.

It’s really sad to see our best right back suffer such an injury that could be career threatening, but I take some solace in the fact that he would be given the best medical assistance required for a speedy recovery. His surgery is scheduled to take place in Spain while he would return to London to start the grueling rehabilitation process.

Hector Bellerin had regressed as a footballer in recent seasons but he picked up some form under the tutelage of Unai Emery. With five assists to his name, he beefed up his creative numbers and you can’t underestimate his importance to the way we play our football under the new gaffer. After hitting a good streak of form, he suffered a setback with a calf injury that sidelined him for a while and he was eased into action by the manager, only to sustain this latest injury that would rule him out for the rest of the season, as well as some chunk of the 2019/20 campaign.

So where do we go from here? With Bellerin no longer available for selection, Emery has only two options – work with the other lads at his disposal or delve into the transfer market to probably get a short term mitigation. A loan deal for Nathaniel Clyne some right back.

Let’s explore Option 1 – using the lads at our disposal. In the hierarchy of right backs in the club, Emery has Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson as able deputies for Hector Bellerin.

Lichtsteiner, that just turned 35 recently by the way, has seen that life in the Premier League can be a struggle, even if you’re Methusalah’s age mate and have won a truckload of titles in the Serie A. I was one of those fans that had a poker face when he was the first signing in the Emery era and to be honest, I didn’t expect him to light any fireworks, but from what I knew about him, I expected him to put a shift in the games he gets selected. Early on in his Arsenal career, he had it all peachy and creamy, scoring against some farmers in the Europa League and having fun with some lower league folks in the Carabao Cup but Bellerin got injured and he was selected to play with the big boys in the EPL. We all know how that panned out – there were the shite fests away to Liverpool and Manchester United then that header to Brighton’s Jurgen Locadia that cost us three points. As an elder statesman, I didn’t expect him to get that much minutes at the Premier League and with Bellerin injured, he could become a liability in an already shaking backline.

Verdict – I hope he features in only FA Cup and Europa League games.

Then there’s Carl Jenkinson, the forgotten true and true Gooner that has plied his trade in several clubs but still finds himself with us. He’s certainly not a world beater by his fair standards but Jenks gives you 100% commitment and heart, which compensates for his lack of ability. He possesses a nice cross on him though, with his assist in the Blackpool game a reminder of what he can do when selected. What I do love about him is the fact that he doesn’t whine about not playing consistently, and will do his bit when selected, but there’s a reason he’s our fourth choice right back. With his contract expiring this summer, Jenks will certainly try pastures anew but he still has a role to play for us between now and the end of the campaign.

Verdict – He will only remain a last gasp option when the injury crisis deepens

AMN – one of the nicest acronyms you’d ever see till you find out what it means and then you’d wish you didn’t like the acronym initially, as you expected a bit more. That’s how I can relate to his footballing ability as well. With Maitland-Niles, you have to first of all commend him for playing out of his comfort zone to help his team – he’s not a full back by trade (had a strong midfield showing for England in the triumphant U20 World Cup campaign) but he has been deployed as a left back, right back and even right winger, like your modern day John O’Shea. However, the only challenge of being a jack-of-all-trades has the potential to make you a master of none. AMN has the physical qualities that can make him a decent full back, but he still needs to do some work on his defensive side, as there’s room for improvement.

Verdict – Deploy as Arsenal’s make-shift right back and hope he builds some consistency

Now we are at Option 2 – signing a player, or maybe securing a loan deal, from the transfer market. Well, this is not Football Manager 2019, where you have the luxury of clicking on a tab and all the right back options appear for you. In real life, it’s a lot complex. For starters, the manager has already mentioned that there are no funds to sign players in this transfer window, so this already limits our options to loan deals, which it’s not as easy as going over the counter to get an item. In the Premier League, I can think about maybe Matteo Darmian, Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne that would be the noteworthy options, but everyone isn’t like Arsenal that enjoys strengthening their rivals.

In conclusion, the onus is on Unai Emery to make the best decision for his team and as an Arsenal supporter, I’d give my err, support, to the option he decides to take.

Sayonara.

Bonus Reading: https://arseblog.com/2019/01/bellerins-injury-could-be-an-opportunity-for-maitland-niles/

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Good News on Injuries Ahead of Stoke Clash

Image result for mertesacker bellerin

It’s another weekend and I’m looking forward to some Premier League action tomorrow! I know I’d miss most of the Saturday’s games because of a wedding I’m scheduled to attend but that the fun part in being in some BlackBerry groups like Gooner Daily, that would keep you updated all the way. I love that lot!

With the game against Stoke coming up tomorrow in front of the Emirates faithful, the feel good factor is back with the team scoring nine goals in their last two outings. It’s even more fun knowing that a goal can come from any position on the side, which is hugely encouraging, unlike some sides that leave the goalscoring burden for a player or two.

There have been a lot of injuries that disrupted the team this season and one can look no further than the influential Santi Cazorla that had a successful surgery and he’d be looking forward to a full recovery. The optimists believe he could be back in contention as early as March, but knowing Arsenal and the way our injury situation could be, I’d throw caution to the wind and give Santi enough time to recuperate before getting back to full fitness. In his absence, the likes of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey can do a good job in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield.

There is good news on the injury front as the manager confirmed that Per Mertesacker, Hector Bellerin and the forgotten forward, Danny Welbeck, are back in training, so they will be in contention to join the side ahead of the vigorous festive period where the games come thick and fast. The club’s captain has kicked the ball just once this season, then suffered a knee injury that has sidelined him for the best part of four months, but in Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel Paulista and the ever-impressive Rob Holding, Mertesacker’s absence hasn’t been felt at all. Many fans even feel that it would be very difficult for the BFG to return to the starting XI. I’m pleased to know that a player of his immense qualities and leadership will be available for selection once again, so the onus is on the manager to find a way to integrate him back to the side. It’s worth noting that the Kostafi combination has been a colossus at the back.

Hector Bellerin is a player that has grown from strength to strength in the team, and his appearance in the Team of the Year last season was a testament of how improved he had been. Since taking the mantle after Matt Debuchy suffered an unfortunate injury, Bellerin has not looked back and he has excelled under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger. He suffered an ankle injury for the Spanish youth side in the last international break, and the team looked to Carl Jenkinson to fill in the void, as Debuchy continued to struggle with fitness. However, the young Englishman suffered ‘confidence issues’ and the boss had resorted to Gabriel to put a shift there while Bellerin works his way back to full fitness. He also signed a new contract recently that would keep him at the club for quite some time, and that news has been taken well by the fans.

On Welbeck, it seems the team has forgotten he exists but he will always be fondly remembered to two iconic moments in his fledgling Arsenal career;

  • The match winning goal in the 2014/15 FA Cup quarterfinal against Manchester United at Old Trafford and
  • That late late header against Leicester City last season in February.

He suffered a knee injury in April and missed Euro 2016, and it must have been hard for the lad seeing his teammate strut their stuff on the pitch, while he spends countless hours with the physios working his way up the fitness chain. Hearing that Welbeck is in training again makes me happy, because he’s a player with very good potential and I’m confident he can actualize it at the Emirates.

A full Stoke preview comes up tomorrow.

Sayonara.

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New Deal for Bellerin and Gunners to Sign Holding?

Rob Holding

The European Championships is just a day away and I’m quite happy because watching some football, as in, real football, would help me drift away from the madness that is the transfer window. I know it’s just June and this madness is going to go on till early September to say the least, but teams in the Premier League are trying to do their business early so that their new recruits can integrate easily with their new teams ahead of what will prove to be an exciting campaign.

From an Arsenal perspective, we are now playing the waiting game with Jamie Vardy. Word on the street is that he has actually accepted Arsenal’s offer but he wants to wait for the European Championships to be over before he ‘makes his decision’. Apparently, Arsenal is also ready to ‘wait’ for the stirker. You can’t blame him because the last time I checked, he’s a fox.

Moving away from the Vardy saga for a minute, Arsenal are closing in on signing with a youngster from Bolton, Rob Holding, who turned out to be their Player of the Year last season. The Express reported this yesterday and went as far as writing that Arsenal has reached a £1.5 million agreement with Bolton, and this package includes performance related add-ons. It was a terrible campaign for Bolton last season, as they suffered the ignominy of relegation from the SkyBet Championship but Holding was a bright spark in a relatively dark campaign for the Trotters.

The lad joined Bolton when he was seven and he grew through the ranks before making his debut last season at 19. He got a stint of international soccer when he featured for the England U-21s alongside Arsenal’s Calum Chambers in the 2016 Toulon Tournament. England were triumphant in this competition. The center back made 26 appearances in the Championship as well as Bolton’s three FA Cup matches and one League Cup match.

It’s quite interesting seeing Arsenal’s go for this lad, bearing in mind that the team is relatively stocked in center back. Current vice-captain, Per Mertesacker, is in his early 30’s as well as his partner in crime, Laurent Koscielny, but in Gabriel Paulista, they have a deputy that is still a bit rough on the edges. Then there’s Calum Chambers that has featured as a center back from time to time, so bringing in a lad like Holding means there’s a succession plan in place for the elder statesmen at the back.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are bracing themselves to offer their primary right back, Hector Bellerin, a new deal to extend his stay at the Emirates. The full back was snapped up from Barcelona’s La Masia academy in 2011 and played for the youth squads before playing his first professional football games at Watford on loan. His debut came up in the 2013/14 season when Arsenal visited West Brom in a League Cup encounter but Bellerin got his breakthrough in the 2014/15 season when he capitalized on Matt Debuchy’s shortcomings to make the right back position his for keeps.

Bellerin continued the good work last season and fate smiled on him as Dani Carvajal’s injury in the Champions League final paved the way for the Arsenal full back to feature for the Spanish national team. He has notched up three caps so far and will battle with Atletico’s Juanfran to earn the right to be Spain’s main full back.

The new deal for Bellerin is believed to be £75,000-per-week and it would be no less than he deserves. We will be monitoring the situation closely and hope it comes to fruition.

Sayonara.

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