Arsenal have had two very poor defeats on the trot in the Premier League and will be hoping that they can pick up all three points against Hull City. On paper, it should be an easy fixture for the Gunners; but then nobody expected a defeat against Watford and so we will need to be up for the test.
Arsenal cannot afford to be slack and underestimate their opponents. It’s vital that Wenger picks the strongest team available to him, in what has turned out to be a far more important fixture than many would’ve anticipated a few weeks back.
On the injury front there are no new issues as such and in fact the squad has already been boosted by Mohammed Elneny’s return from AFCON. His national side reached the final, in which the Egyptian scored the opening goal. His side however went on to lose the match and he has returned to London straight away to get back to his club commitments.
As for Hector Bellerin, the player remains under a risk assessment plan after picking up an injury concern away to Chelsea last Saturday. Bellerin hit the ground after being left concussed by Marcos Alonso in a challenge for the ball. Initial reports outlined it was not anticipated to be a serious concussion, however the player must remain in the care and risk assessment of the club doctors. FA guidelines state that a player must be in such care for at least six days, meaning that he would be clear to play this Saturday, if the doctors give the go ahead tomorrow.
On the matter, Wenger told Arsenal.com: ‘We have the question about Hector Bellerin. He’s going for tests and the process every day and we’ll only know tomorrow if he gets the green light from the medical people to practise or not. At the moment he has not practised.’
Although the reports have suggested that Bellerin is showing no issues in relation to the concussion, I personally think it may be unlikely that he’ll feature in the match. Bellerin would be allowed to return to full first team training tomorrow, but only if the club doctors give Wenger the go-ahead. He may therefore partake in training tomorrow, however I still think there would be a level of uncertainty as to whether Wenger would pick Bellerin to be in his starting eleven.
Bellerin hasn’t trained all week with the squad and so although one week out surely won’t affect match fitness, you have to consider that likelihood that he’s probably missed out on all the tactical training and physical preparation the squad has had in place for the match against Hull. To throw Bellerin into the mix with one days training may not be a move Wenger wishes to do and so even if the Spaniard is given the all clear to play, I’m not sure if he’ll be starting the match come Saturday afternoon.