Mikel Arteta has confirmed an injury blow after ruling Hector Bellerin out of Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace this weekend.
Bellerin has missed Arsenal’s last eight matches in all competitions after suffering a hamstring injury following our 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at the start of December.
The Spaniard has been photographed at London Colney over the past week, raising hopes he could feature in the recent wins over Manchester United and Leeds, but he wasn’t included in either matchday squad.
The official team news update on Arsenal.com earlier today said that Bellerin was still being assessed by the medical team ahead of our trip to Selhurt Park to take on Palace on Saturday lunchtime.
However, speaking at his press conference this afternoon, Arteta confirmed to reporters that while Bellerin took part in partial training today the trip to Palace will still come too soon for the full-back.
Arteta suggested that Bellerin would be ’50/50′ for the following game so we could see the 24-year-old back in the squad against Sheffield United at the Emirates on January 18th.
The boss told Arsenal.com:
on the team news…
No news really, I don’t think we will get anyone back in the squad, we have a few that are going to be 50/50 for the following game probably but not much news.
on how Hector Bellerin is…
Hector is a little bit better. He trained partially with the team today, but he’s still not there.
Bellerin’s continued absence means Ainsley Maitland-Niles is expected to start at right-back this weekend as Calum Chambers has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury that he sustained against Chelsea last month.
Kieran Tierney is Arsenal’s other main injury concern as he’s not due back in training until March after undergoing shoulder surgery but otherwise we have a healthy squad to choose from.
Dani Ceballos was an unused substitute against Leeds after recovering from a hamstring injury so he’ll hope to feature on Saturday while Rob Holding made his comeback with 90 minutes in the FA Cup so only three first team players are set to miss the Palace trip this weekend.