Hector Bellerin Reveals What Made Him Happiest Following Gritty Arsenal Display

Hector Bellerin grabbed the headlines after bagging a late equaliser in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with the Chelsea, capping a spirited display from the 10-man Gunners.

After David Luiz’s sending off in the first half, Arsenal were up against it at Stamford Bridge, heading into the break a goal down after Jorginho converted from the penalty spot.

Gabriel Martinelli did draw Arsenal level just after the hour mark, but it looked as though the game had slipped away from Bellerin and his teammates after ​Cesar Azpilicueta glanced home with just over five minutes remaining.


Bellerin’s late curling effort rescued a point though, with Arsenal’s captain on the night subsequently taking to his Instagram to praise his teammates work ethic.

“Always happy to score against these lot…,” Bellerin said. “But what truly made me happy was everyone fighting for their lives on that pitch. Big well done to the team tonight.”

Bellerin also spoke to host broadcaster BT Sport after the full-time whistle, reiterating his praise for Arsenal’s battling display in the face of numerical adversity.

“It was a really, really, really hard game as it was then with ten men losing a very important player for us especially in defence.

Granit Xhaka,Hector Bellerin

“We turned it around since the minute he got sent off and at half time we were only one down. We saw that there was an opportunity to get back into the game and everyone fought, everyone was defending in the box in that second.

“That’s what you need and you earn points playing like that sometimes. We’re a team that is always looking to improve and we know that one of the things that we do is to be together, to defend together, to not give up until the final whistle.”

Bellerin’s words were echoed by boss Mikel Arteta, with Manchester City’s former assistant – who has one league win from his opening six games in charge – ​highlighting the spirit within Arsenal’s camp as a key factor in their comeback.

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He said: “The spirit, character, fight and leadership was there. You have to really stand up. When someone makes a mistake and some has to take a red card for him it can happen.

“I am surprised – we are playing with lot of young kids and what they showed tonight is going to be great experience for them. If you put in everything, anything can happen.”

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Predicting Arsenal’s Starting XI for Chelsea Clash on Tuesday

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta takes his charges to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night in a bid to put a dent in Chelsea’s Champions League hopes.

Gunners forward Gabriel Martinelli looked to have grabbed all three points at home to Sheffield United on Saturday but the Blades equalised late to snatch a 1-1 draw. 

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That result leaves Arteta’s men 10 points behind ​Chelsea in fourth and a win against the Blues is crucial if the Gunners are to resurrect any faint hopes of playing in Europe’s elite competition next season.

With skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang serving the second of a three-match ​Premier League ban, the onus falls on youngster Martinelli and Alexandre Lacazette to find the back of the net against Chelsea.

Arsenal will be desperate to avenge the 2-1 home defeat that they suffered courtesy of the Blues in December.

Here’s how Arsenal may line up ahead of their trip to the Bridge. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Bukayo Saka,George Baldock

Bernd Leno (GK) – The German shot-stopper has established himself as Arsenal’s number one this season and gave another solid performance against ​Sheffield United. In particular, his distribution which has been criticised this season was much improved against the Blades. However, in truth, he wasn’t overworked and will no doubt be far busier against Tammy Abraham and co. 

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (RB) – There is still a question as to whether Maitland-Niles is just a stop-gap for Mikel Arteta’s side, but he didn’t do much wrong in his last game. Although he faces a tricky task on Tuesday. He will be trusted with keeping tabs on Chelsea’s Brazilian Willian at Stamford Bridge.

David Luiz (CB) – Returning to his former stomping ground, Luiz will no doubt be pumped up to get one over on his previous employers. His concentration will have to be at it’s highest against Chelsea, especially in his marshalling of Abraham who can be a real handful up front. In an attacking sense, Luiz will be crucial in starting Arsenal’s attacks and moving the Gunners higher up the pitch.

Sokratis (CB) – The Greek defender missed the draw with the Blades through illness but Arteta may choose to recall him for the trip to West London. Shkodran Mustafi would be the man to make way and the German did have one or two nervy moments at the weekend. Sokratis has started 18 league games so far this season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him turn out for the Gunners in this one.

Bukayo Saka (LB) – Arteta chose to employ Saka in the full-back berth against the Blades and the teenager didn’t disappoint. At both ends of the pitch, he was one of Arsenal’s stand-out performers. The 18-year-old teamed defensive maturity with attacking creativity and provided the assist for Martinelli’s goal. Saka will have his work cut on Tuesday though, Callum Hudson-Odoi is a dangerous customer for even the most experienced defender.


Midfielders

Mesut Ozil

Granit Xhaka (CM) – ​Arsenal’s former captain appeared to have one foot out of the Emirates door but new boss Arteta has shown faith in the Swiss international and made him a regular starter again. Xhaka has repaid his manager’s backing by putting in solid displays in the Gunners midfield. Up against Chelsea’s Ngolo Kanté, he will be tasked with injecting pace and urgency at Stamford Bridge. 

Lucas Torreira (CM) – The Uruguayan is a warrior in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield and he will take on the role of enforcer against the Blues. Alongside Xhaka, the pair may find themselves outnumbered at times, and Torreira will need to hustle and harry in order to disrupt Chelsea’s command of the ball. Breaking up the play will be the midfielder’s main aim on Tuesday evening.

Mesut Özil (CAM) – On his day, the German can unlock even the most stubborn of defences and Arteta will be hoping his number 10 can provide the spark against Chelsea. The midfielder drifted in and out of the Sheffield United stalemate but he can ill-afford a similar performance against Frank Lampard’s side. Ozil has gone missing in games far too often this season and Gunners fans will be leaning on their star man to stand up and be counted. 


 Forwards

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Nicolas Pépé (RW) – The Frenchman was arguably man of the match for Arsenal against Sheffield United and caused Chris Wilder’s side a lot of headaches. Pépé was purposeful in his attacking play and got a lot of joy down the right flank. With the possibility of facing Chelsea’s forward-minded full-back Emerson Palmieri, he will back himself to make a telling impact on this game. 

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – In Aubayemang’s absence, Lacazette took up the captain’s armband and spearheaded the Gunners attack on Saturday. He will once again be leading the line here as Aubayemang continues to serve a suspension for his red card against ​Crystal Palace. Lacazette failed to register against Sheffield United and will be out to add to his five league goals against Chelsea.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – The 18-year-old Brazilian was the Gunners goalscorer against the Blades and showed great striking instinct to connect with Saka’s cross. His goal will no doubt earn him another start here and up against Chelsea’s ageing full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, he will back himself to perform. His youthful exuberance and clever movement could be the key to Arsenal claiming all three points.

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Edinson Cavani: The Contenders to Sign the PSG Striker & Where He Might End Up

We’ve got a good old-fashioned January standoff on our hands, as Edinson Cavani handed in a transfer request at Paris Saint-Germain. 

There was expected to be a fair amount of interest in the veteran hitman’s signature this month regardless, but the ​concrete news that he wants out after a tough season in Paris has sent the football media spiralling. 

A host of clubs in England, as well as a smattering on the continent and beyond, are now said to be falling over themselves to get to the front of the queue, so let’s dive in and assess some of his options for a January switch. 


Arsenal

Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain

​Reported vaguely in Spain to have tabled an offer for the Uruguayan, ​Arsenal’s name has been in the frame but, in truth, it just doesn’t make a huge lot of sense. 

You can envision the Gunners being in the market for a new striker in the long run, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette having been linked with moves away, but it doesn’t seem hugely likely either will require replacing this month – especially with Mikel Arteta looking to stabilise things in the early days of his tenure, rather than shake it up.

Aubameyang’s ongoing suspension has stretched their attacking options, true, but the signing of Cavani on an eye-watering wage would demonstrate some spectacularly small-minded thinking, considering Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah both offer exciting young options upfront. 

Likelihood Rating: 3/10


Tottenham

This one does have one or two things going for it. Unlike their North London rivals, ​Tottenham are in the market for a striker in the short-term, with Harry Kane out until April with injury, and there is the appeal of Champions League football on offer. 

However, that’s about it. 

On the other hand, there are more than a few red flags. Cavani, for one thing, won’t want to be playing second fiddle to Kane once he returns, and the financial element once again comes into play. Spurs would have to sign off on an exorbitant wage packet to bring him in now, and that’s just not very Spursy. 

It seems like a Jose Mourinho signing, granted, but it’s just difficult to imagine either Daniel Levy or Cavani himself going for this one. 

Likelihood Rating: 4/10


Inter (Milan edition)

Edinson Cavani,Lorenzo Pirola

​Inter are doing some very Inter business this month. An Ashley Young here, a Victor Moses there, it’s looking like they on are going for the tried and tested Italian football tactic of ‘signing every available ageing pro on the market in the hopes of short-term success’.

To be fair, it’s worked for them so far, so why stop there? From a PSG perspective, they obviously have some sort of working relationship with the Italians, so the French side allowing Cavani to join them now might aid their chances of landing Mauro Icardi permanently in the summer. 

Would Cavani, though, be prepared to wait for his chances behind an established duo in Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez? There’s every chance he’d end up starting most of his games in the Europa League – not exactly a huge appeal there. 

Likelihood Rating: 5/10


Inter (Miami edition)

Meanwhile in MLS, David Beckham’s Inter Miami are still on the lookout for a salary cap-breaking signing or two to boost the brand ahead of their first competitive match next month, and Cavani has been chief among the names linked.

The likelihood of this one might just depend on what Cavani feels he has left to offer. The fact he has handed in a transfer request indicates he is keen to push himself for another few seasons, but if he fancies a change of scenery and the chance to rattle in 65 goals per season like Zlatan, then a move stateside may beckon.

Inter Miami are keen on promoting South American talent and there would be few better ambassadors for that than Cavani, while PSG may be more likely to accept an approach from a non-competitor. Plenty going for this one, but no shortage of doubts either. 

Likelihood Rating: 6/10


Chelsea

The Blues have money to spend and catch-up to play in the January window, and need a viable, experienced alternative to Tammy Abraham. Is the writing on the wall here? Not quite, but it does make a fair amount of sense. 

From Cavani’s perspective, this one’s fairly straightforward. With only one established striker available to Frank Lampard at present, he would know he has a decent chance of carving out some first-team football for himself, and if he hits the heights he can, then he could really take the fight to Abraham to become the club’s first choice. 

For ​Chelsea, it’s some much-needed experience to inject into what is a very young squad, and a proven goalscorer to bring into games when Abraham’s form invariably dips. It’s someone for Abraham to learn the trade from, and perhaps only Chelsea’s lack of recent reported interest stops this from ranking higher. 

Likelihood Rating: 7/10


Atlético Madrid

PSG rejected an offer from the Spanish side for his services earlier in the window, but the word on the continent is that Cavani wants the move to happen, and is keen to work with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

That being the case, it looks unlikely that they won’t try their hand another once or twice at bringing him in. The club clearly want him, and the player clearly wants the move, so while PSG are holding out for all they can get, they seem unlikely to stand in the way of it for too much longer. 

The transfer request might just spring Atléti into action – we’ll see how this one goes. 

Likelihood Rating: 7/10


Manchester United

Edinson Cavani

This one just seems right, doesn’t it? 

United were already in need of another attacking option before Marcus Rashford’s injury; now they most certainly are. 

United have plenty of youth and exuberance in the final third, with Anthony Martial, at 24, their most experienced forward. Cavani, then, as a proven option to come in for 18 months or so and offer some world-class quality, while not expecting to start every game, fits like a glove. 

It would give the wealth of young attackers someone to look up to, gives the likes of Mason Greenwood something to aim at, and adds some leadership to a squad that, by the gods, is in desperate need of it. This is perhaps the most sensible of sensible signings, so United should avoid letting another one slip through the cracks and get this one done early. 

Likelihood Rating: 8/10


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7 Players Who Need to Break Free in January to Succeed

The January window’s open, lads – you know what that means? It’s time for some big ol’ switcheroos in the world of football.

While the common conception can be that clubs are looking to buy and sell to help themselves, sometimes it’s about what a player wants and needs. Midway into the season, where do their best chances of success lie? Can they get total fulfilment out of staying where they are or do they need a move to reach new heights?

Here are seven players who need to break free in January in order to succeed.


Bruno Fernandes

UEFA Europa League"Sporting Club de Portugal v PSV"

Current Club: Sporting CP

Linked With: Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

It feels like we’ve been here before with Bruno Fernandes, right? An outstanding goal threat who clearly needs a fresh challenge at this point of his career having given everything for Sporting, Fernandes has long been linked with a move to the ​Premier League.

With a freshness and clear hunger to prove himself at the top level, he would definitely be useful for either ​Manchester United or Tottenham. While he’s a shoo-in for Portugal at Euro 2020, that shouldn’t stop him from wanting to make a significant jump at club level.


Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen

Current Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Linked With: Inter, Paris Saint-Germain

Sometimes change is needed after a while in any career, and it’s no different in football. After six-and-a-half years of service for ​Spurs, ​Christian Eriksen admitted even back in the summer that he would like a new challenge.

It’s a short career and footballers will want to experience as much as they can, whether that’s on the field with a new team or off it in a new country. If the Dane is able to secure a transfer this January, then he could provide a huge boost to whichever side he joins – whether it’s helping Inter challenge ​Juventus for the Scudetto or with PSG’s push for the ​Champions League.


Douglas Costa

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Current Club: Juventus

Linked With: Arsenal, Manchester United

In a side featuring the likes of ​Cristiano Ronaldo, ​Paulo Dybala and ​Gonzalo Higuain, arguably Juventus’ most fun player to watch is ​Douglas Costa.

A tricky winger trying to fit his way into a team that no longer uses them, Costa has spent much of this season attempting to impress new boss Maurizio Sarri and battling niggling injuries.

On his day, he remains one of the world’s greatest showmen, and could easily do a job for a top European side still.


Thomas Lemar

Thomas Lemar

Current Club: Atletico Madrid

Linked With: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur

Having won Ligue 1 with Monaco and the World Cup with France, ​Thomas Lemar could be one of Europe’s most underrated stars who need a move this January.

Not many wide men excel in playmaking or possessing an ability to operate between the lines, but the Frenchman’s deft skillset could prove useful, and maybe even key, to several sides should he leave ​Atletico Madrid this month.

He has been offered to ​Arsenal and Spurs on loan, and it could be a straight showdown between the north London rivals for Lemar’s services.


Moussa Dembele

Moussa Dembele

Current Club: Olympique Lyonnais

Linked With: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur

Even when Moussa Dembele was scoring goals for fun with Fulham in the Championship or with Celtic up in Scotland, there was a sense that he would still have that golden touch even at the highest level, and now seems like the time to make that jump.

A year-and-a-half into his stint at Lyon, Dembele is now on the fringes of a France call-up ahead of Euro 2020, but to ensure his place in Didier Deschamps’ final squad, a long-awaited move to the Premier League could be his best chance to show his worth.


Luka Jovic

Luka Jovic

Current Club: Real Madrid

Linked With: Arsenal, Bayern

Don’t let Luka Jovic’s quiet start at ​Real Madrid fool you – he’s still a great striker with sky-high potential. Every forward has peaks and troughs, and the Serbian is no different, but maybe he needs a new environment to showcase that.

During his time with Eintracht Frankfurt, Jovic proved to be one of Europe’s top marksmen, and that’s not a skill you lose overnight (or in this case, half a season). Give him a run in any first team​, Madrid or otherwise, and he will score goals. Have a little faith, guys.


Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Current Club: Crystal Palace

Linked Clubs: Arsenal, Bayern, Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur

There are few players in European football who can truly say they are the heartbeat of their team, making everyone tick just with their presence even if it’s been a bad game – that’s been the life of ​Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace.

What he’s done at Selhurst Park – where the seats have needed a good oiling for some time having clinked so much in anticipation that the Ivorian will entertain – has already made him a club legend, and this is one Eagle who needs a new start in order to soar.

​Bayern reportedly offered to take the winger on loan with an option to buy, and while it would be fun watching Zaha tear up the Bundesliga, he could be just as effective at any of the other London clubs in the Premier League.


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7 of the Best Handballs in Premier League History

​Saturday’s action produced one of the finest saves in Premier League history; a remarkable moment that even the division’s finest goalkeepers would be proud of.

Rather surprisingly, it was Bournemouth centre-back Steve Cook who flung himself in front of the Norwich shot, acrobatically deflecting it on to the outside of the post with a grace we seldom even see from the world’s best shot-stoppers.

But Cook may have forgotten the world we live in. While the referee did spot his moment of majesty and madness, VAR would have intervened (well, probably) even if the miraculous save hadn’t been spotted, leaving the defender looking more than a little foolish.

However, Cook did inspire someone – us. The Bournemouth stalwart got us reminiscing about the rest of the best Premier League handballs of all time, so here they are:


Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

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Despite a stellar career filled with unbelievable and breathtaking moments, this game is one ​Ronaldo may want to forget.

Back in a Manchester Derby in 2008, the attacker, having already been booked, jumped to head Wayne Rooney’s corner only to rather innocuously handle the ball with little disguise. Of course, Howard Webb brandished yet another yellow card for the Portugal winger and, despite Ronaldo’s strong denial of any wrongdoing – claiming he had heard the referee’s whistle – sent off arguably the Premier League’s greatest ever player.

Such was United’s dominance of this fixture in the 2000s, they still won the game 1-0.


Steven Taylor (Newcastle United)

Steven Taylor

Now playing in the Australian top tier, Taylor has evidently felt the need to flee as far from British shores as possible to forget this moment of insanity.

In 2005 against Aston Villa, the centre-back made a wonderful goalline clearance with his hand, beating Darius Vassell’s shot away and seemingly being taken out from distance by a sniper in the crowd. Taylor proceeded to roll around on the floor in a rather flamboyant and dramatic manner, but his acting performance failed to convince the referee – who was quick to give the ​Newcastle man his marching orders.


Ahmed El-Mohamady (Hull City)

Ahmed Elmohamady

Doing his best to inspire his inner Diego Maradona, El-Mohamady decided it was his turn for a ‘Hand of God’ moment. Unfortunately for the Egyptian, he didn’t quite get away with it.

Back during his time at Hull, the defender got his hand on the end of a whipped delivery in to the box, redirecting the cross beyond the hapless Tim Krul. In an ultimate show of unsportsmanlike conduct, the now Aston Villa right-back wheeled away with unbridled joy and celebrated his idiocy without as much as a shred of remorse. 

Luckily the eagle-eyed officials cut his lap of honour short, making the defender surprisingly angry about the ‘injustice’ he felt he had suffered. Karma is a bugger, hey?


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

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Not only one of the Premier League’s best handball moments, but also the greatest identity crisis in the division’s history.

​Oxlade-Chamberlain, then of Arsenal, needlessly handled Eden Hazard’s wayward shot on the line and as a result got sent off. Oh, but he didn’t. Andre Marriner’s ageing eyes told his brain that it was in fact Kieran Gibbs who committed the offence, electing to punish the left-back instead and allowing the Ox to watch his team crumble to an embarrassing 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Cheaters never prosper…


Phil Neville (Everton)

Phil Neville

Did you really expect a Premier League gaffe list without Phil Neville’s name on it?

Of course the defender got sent off for a 90th minute handball on the line in a Merseyside Derby. Of course it meant his side were to reduced to ten men and he conceded a second Everton penalty of the match. And – of course – Liverpool scored that penalty and condemned the Toffees to another heartbreaking defeat to their local rivals.

Well done Phil.


Peter Crouch (Stoke City)

Peter Crouch,Petr Cech

Despite a humbling 4-1 defeat to Arsenal, Crouch still stole the headlines after the two sides clashed in the Midlands.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the 6’7 forward would need no advantage in the air, but the Stoke attacker still deemed it necessary to divert Marko Arnautovic’s cross in to the back of the net with his arm. The emphatic loss did take a lot of the heat off the former England man, but one of football’s nice guys showed that you have to play dirty sometimes in our beautiful game.


Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Willy Boly

Manchester City didn’t drop many points over the course of last season, but they did stumble against ​Wolves at Molineux. This was courtesy of Willy Boly’s wonderful handball goal that held the Citizens to a 1-1 draw against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

Boly got away with one on that day, but justice wasn’t too far behind the centre-back – he was sent off just 19 minutes into the reverse fixture later in the campaign.


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