Arsenal Reloaded: 3 players who need to get back to best

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LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 10: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal controls the ball during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on February 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

2. Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin looked at his sharpest on this occasion. Bombing up and down the right flank, especially in the first half, he was electric and full of energy. His pace caused problems on overlapping runs, he pressed Ben Davies into submission, and his link-up play with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was one of the main bright spots of the first half.

In a very similar situation to Rob Holding, however, the Spaniard has not played at this level ever since. He tore his ACL in January, the same injury as Holding, and has spent much of the time since then rehabbing from that injury. He made a brief return earlier this season, only to then tear his hamstring, and has started four of the last five Premier League matches while playing with a groin issue.

The injury problems that Bellerin has dealt with are noticeable. He has lost a step of pace, his confidence is down, and while Mikel Arteta has tactically curtailed his offensive freedom, the impact he has in possession has declined substantially.

Arsenal are expecting Bellerin to be their starting right-back. It is a difficult role to play in Arteta’s system, oftentimes the primary outlet when playing out from the back. They need Bellerin to be at his best, which he hasn’t been for some time. Hopefully this current time off will provide him with the rest he needs to rediscover his peak fitness and form.

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