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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin ruled out for nine months after rupturing knee ligaments

Spanish full-back went down unchallenged during the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 victory and was carried off on a stretcher

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin ruptured knee ligaments during the Gunners' 2-0 victory over Chelsea at the weekend. Reuters
Arsenal's Hector Bellerin ruptured knee ligaments during the Gunners' 2-0 victory over Chelsea at the weekend. Reuters

Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin could be sidelined for up to nine months after rupturing knee ligaments in Saturday's win over Chelsea, the club confirmed.

Bellerin went down unchallenged during the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 victory and was carried off on a stretcher.

The 23-year-old Spaniard was making his first start since mid-December having overcome a calf problem, but will now miss the remainder of the season, and possibly the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

Arsenal revealed the severity of Bellerin's injury on Tuesday morning.

"Further to the injury sustained during our match against Chelsea on Saturday, we can confirm that Hector has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee," the club said.

"Hector will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months and therefore rules Hector out of action for the remainder of this season.

"Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Hector is back on the pitch as soon as possible next season."

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Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is "optimistic" his team can beat Chelsea to reach the League Cup final despite injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

The Argentine remains focused and upbeat even though Kane is likely to be missing until March while Alli is being assessed after going off late in the 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday with a hamstring problem.

Pochettino is also without South Korean forward Son Heung-min, who is on Asian Cup duty in the UAE.

Pressure is growing on the manager and his talented young Spurs side to translate attractive football into silverware – a loss in the 2015 League Cup final and two FA Cup semi-final defeats have led to questions over their mental strength.

Spurs take a 1-0 lead into Thursday's second leg at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, who beat them in the League Cup final and the 2017 FA Cup semi-final.

"I am so optimistic," Pochettino was quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror. "We are going to prepare for Chelsea, try to find solutions. Try to be solid, aggressive, offensive and keep our identity.

"Of course it's going to be tough. I don't say we're going to win easily on Thursday. But we are going to try.

"That is the most important thing and I know that afterwards I will be happy because the squad we have is going to give their best to be in the final."

Updated: January 22, 2019 04:28 PM

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