Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Hector Bellerin was not part of the travelling squad to Preston North End for their FA Cup third round clash because the Spaniard had suffered an injury in training. The 21-year-old had a game to forget against Bournemouth and Wenger said he was carrying a knock, which hindered his performance. The manager did not provide any further insight on his injury.
The Gunners are already short across the length of the pitch owing to a series of setbacks. Francis Coquelin is out for three to four weeks with a hamstring problem, while Santi Cazorla is unavailable for the long term with an Achilles issue. Mohamed Elneny has reported for international duty with Egypt while Theo Walcott is out injured with a calf problem.
'Bellerin was injured yesterday in training,' Wenger told BT Sport, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
Mathieu Debuchy is still out with a hamstring problem while Carl Jenkinson is suffering from low confidence, which led Wenger to deploy Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back. The Gunners edged out Preston 2-1 in the final few minutes after the Championship club had taken the lead early in the first half.
Olivier Giroud scored the winner and saved the Gunners a replay, which would have been a massive blow given their already packed schedule. Danny Welbeck returned to the first team after missing the first half of the season with a knee injury and almost scored with his first shot on target.
"I think he went through certainly desperation because the setback he had was absolutely atrocious," Wenger said, as quoted by Sky Sports. "The patience you need when you're that age - and to miss the European Championship on top of that, after missing the start of the season - it was terrible. But he worked hard and certainly it will make him stronger, what happened to him.
"He had to go through it and that was a very difficult moment for him. I think he suffered a lot but I hope - touch wood - that he now will have a clean career."