Arsenal have been dealt a real blow as Arsene Wenger conceded on Saturday that right-back Hector Bellerin picked up an injury in training on Friday.
The 21-year-old was absent from the squad that faced Preston North End in the FA Cup on Saturday, with a late Olivier Giroud saving the Gunners’ blushes as they won 2-1 at Deepdale.
However, perhaps the biggest setback this week is the loss of Bellerin, with Wenger confirming after the game that the Spaniard was absent because of a new injury.
“Bellerin was injured yesterday in training,” Wenger told BT Sport, as reported by the Metro.
Worryingly, the Arsenal boss didn’t go into further details on the issue and didn’t give a possible timeline as to how long he will be sidelined for.
In turn, that will be a huge concern moving forward as the Gunners have looked shaky at right-back without Bellerin, although it’s claimed in the report that he faced a late fitness test prior to the 3-3 draw with Bournemouth on Tuesday, a game in which he looked far from his best.
With Mathieu Debuchy still sidelined with his own injury, 19-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles started against Preston and while it was partly down to his lack of experience and not enough protection from his teammates, he did look vulnerable.
As a result, Wenger will be desperately hoping that Bellerin returns to action sooner rather than later and avoids another lengthy spell in the treatment room having only recently returned from an ankle injury.
Another option could be to move Gabriel over to the right-back position, with the Brazilian doing a decent job last month when acting as cover.