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Arsene Wenger offers fitness update on key Arsenal man
Arsene Wenger has offered an update on Hector Bellerin’s condition after the full-back was knocked out during Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Chelsea this afternoon.
Bellerin was restored at right-back having been rested for the defeat to Watford in midweek but the Spaniard was forced off inside the opening 15 minutes following a nasty clash with Macros Alonso.
The Chelsea full-back caught Bellerin straight in the face with a leading elbow as the pair contested a high ball in the area sending the Arsenal man crashing to the floor.
Alonso powered home the header but inexplicably the referee allowed the goal to stand, despite having a clear view that the Chelsea man had wiped Hector out with an elbow to the face.
At the time, I suspected Bellerin was knocked out as he lay motionless on the floor for several seconds and Wenger has now confirmed that the Spaniard was old cold and didn’t even know the score when he came round.
Arsene was understandably incensed that the goal was allowed to stand as it was clearly a foul but he admitted that they made a quick decision to replace Bellerin as he’d suffered a suspected concussion.
Wenger told Arsenal.com:
on Chelsea’s first goal…
Of course it was a foul. But he allowed the goal and after that I think it was much more difficult for us. We were 1-0 down and Chelsea are very good at defending and very strong in transition, on the counter-attack. We paid for that.
on the decision to take Bellerin off…
Yeah, the decision was very quick but you have to respect that. It’s the head and I think one of the [conclusions] from the game today is that referees are much more severe with tackles on the ground and let much more go with elbows in the face. It’s not only today but in many, many games I see that. It’s more dangerous to hit the head than the legs.
on whether Bellerin was knocked out…
Yes. Was he completely knocked out? He didn’t know the result of the game. At the time he didn’t see the goal.
Here’s the incident:
— Gridiron Gaffer (@gridirongaffer) February 4, 2017
It still baffles me how this goal was allowed to stand and to justify our complaints the ref gave a foul when Gabriel caught Costa in the face with a forearm later in the game.
Also, in the Spurs v Middlesbrough game this evening Negredo was pulled up for a foul when he barely touched Lloris [with his shoulder, not even his elbow] as they challenged for a high ball. Seemingly the referee’s think it’s more dangerous to brush a goalkeeper with your shoulder than being knocked out by an elbow.
Arsenal collapsed after we went 1-0 down but we were right in the game at 0-0. It’s easy to hammer the players as they let their heads drop when we went behind but who knows how the game would have gone had the first goal been correctly ruled out.