Hector Bellerin

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Emery: Arsenal targeting League Cup success; Injured trio shines

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Unai Emery is targeting silverware one way or another, and is pleased that Arsenal pumped Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Tuesday at the Emirates Stadium.

Teen striker Gabriel Martinelli scored twice, and Reiss Nelson, Rob Holding, and Joe Willock also scored as Arsenal cruised into the fourth round and saw a rival exit the competition.

[ MORE: League Cup roundup ]

“We played on Sunday but we want to do something important in this competition,” Emery said, via the BBC. “This was a very good opportunity to play with different players and those who didn’t play much in the last match. Nottingham Forest are playing well in the Championship and we had to use our capacity.”

It was a feel-good night for Arsenal, with Holding scoring after a year-long injury layoff, and Hector Bellerin returning to the field for the first time when he took the place of Kieran Tierney… who was making his Arsenal debut after injury.

“It has been a long process with a lot of long days in the gym,” Holding said. “I couldn’t have written it better myself, how it panned out was just brilliant.”

Bellerin assisted on Willock’s goal in his first action since January.

Arsenal fears broken jaw for Koscielny

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Things are getting worse for Arsenal on the injury front as their defensive line continues to take hits from all angles.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said they fear Laurent Koscielny has suffered a broken jaw after a clash with Romelu Lukaku in the 3-1 FA Cup loss to Manchester United.

Koscielny departed in the 64th minute after falling hard in a tangle with Lukaku. He received treatment on the field that resulted in a lengthy delay, and it was clear he was struggling with a facial injury.

The Frenchman’s injury is an even bigger blow to Arsenal considering fellow central defender Sokratis was forced off in the first half with an ankle injury from landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge. That, coupled with Hector Bellerin‘s lengthy absence from a torn ACL suffered just a few weeks ago, has left the Arsenal defense in tatters.

It’s not the first time this season that the Gunners have struggled with injuries to their back line. Rob Holding, like Bellerin, is out for the year with an ACL tear. Koscielny himself missed nearly the entire first half of the season after recovering from his own ACL tear, while Sead Kolasinac dealt with a knee injury that left him sidelined for the first three months. Nacho Monreal missed nearly two full months with a hamstring injury, and 21-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos has struggled with a groin problem for most of the season. Shkodran Mustafi missed three matches in December with a hamstring problem, while Sokratis has been one of the more consistent presences for Arsenal this season, but has had ankle problems crop up this season before his injury on Friday.

Arsenal has even suffered injury problems to its defensive line before this season, with Arsene Wenger facing the same situation in his final few years in charge. Monreal, a left-back naturally, was forced deputized in central defense for a significant portion of Wenger’s final season in charge of Arsenal.

Season over for Arsenal’s Bellerin

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Arsenal’s fears regarding Hector Bellerin‘s leg injury were founded in truth, as the Spaniard is set to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

[ MORE: Juve wins again ]

Bellerin, still just 23, was stretchered off of Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium this weekend after his knee appeared to buckle during a non-contact play.

He’s already made 181 appearances for the Gunners, with seven goals and 24 assists.

Stephane Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson are in Arsenal’s right back corps, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles capable of logging minutes, too.

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City: Ozil conjures magic in Gunners victory

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They say Mesut Ozil is one of the best players in the Premier League, when he wants to be. He wanted to be on Monday afternoon.

The Gunners captain scored the opener, and he truly shone while orchestrating two of the most brilliantly constructed goals of the Premier League season to help Arsenal shake off an early Hector Bellerin own-goal to earn a 3-1 victory at the Emirates.

Leicester City attacked well from the onset and would go ahead just seconds past the half-hour mark as they push down the left. Ben Chilwell burst down the flank past Alexandre Lacazette and behind Hector Bellerin just enough that as Bellerin hoped to recover, Chilwell’s cross clipped Bellerin’s foot and into the back of the net, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno already diving the wrong way to stop the cross.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal surged into the asencency after falling behind, and nearly found an equalizer shortly after. A long ball was just out of reach for a streaking Alex Iwobi behind the defensive line, Granit Xhaka came close on a long-range free-kick, Aaron Ramsey whiffed on a free header at the near post on a corner, and Iwobi’s effort from the right was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Eventually, the pressure would prove fruitful and the Gunners would equalize just before the break. As the Gunners looked to build out of the back, Mesut Ozil charged through the midfield on the ball, and after spraying it right to Bellerin, he got the ball right back in front of net and had plenty of space for a one-touch finish on the run.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

After the break, Arsenal had a big chance as Lacazette’s shot pinged around and fell to Henrikh Mkhitaryan whose scissor kick swerved across the face of goal and just wide of the left post. Still, Leicester proved pesky and nearly put themselves back in front in the 58th minute as Wilfred Ndidi headed a corner straight into the crossbar.

That would prove costly, as Arsenal took advantage minutes later. With the Gunners on the ball in the attacking third, Ozil threaded an absolutely delicious through-ball for Bellerin that completely unlocked the Leicester City back line, and the Spaniard simply tapped across to substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the goal.

The Gunners would do even better three minutes later on one of the prettiest goals we’ve seen this Premier League season. Bellerin sent the ball into the mixer with Ozil waiting at the top of the box. The German international let the ball go through his legs, dummying to Lacazette who touched right back to Ozil on the run past the Leicester City back line. With Arsenal now through, Ozil produced a delicious chip over a charging Schmeichel to Aubameyang waiting to finish a simple tap-in for his second goal of the evening.

Arsenal probably should have had a fourth, but Lacazette’s look on the doorstep was smothered well by Schmeichel. That was the last serious action of the game, as the Gunners cruised to victory.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

The win pushed Arsenal up to fourth in the Premier League table, even on 21 points with Tottenham and Chelsea, and ahead of their West London rivals on goal differential. Leicester City, meanwhile, remained stuck in 11th on 12 points for the season.

Classy Arsenal dance past Fulham

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  • Lacazette, Schurrle trade first half goals (WATCH)
  • Bellerin big part of second half rush
  • Ramsey, Aubameyang with beauties

Arsenal is humming under Unai Emery, winners of six-straight league matches and nine in all competitions after a 4-1 blowout of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang each scored twice, and Aaron Ramsey also netted for the Gunners.

Arsenal moves third with 18 points, while Fulham has five points and sits in 17th.

The Gunners lost their first two matches of the season, to Man City and Chelsea, but have not since tasted defeat (or even a draw).

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Following Lucas Vietto’s missed chance in the opening moments of the match, it was all Arsenal for the wealth of the opening half. Alexandre Lacazette moved USMNT defender Tim Ream to create a yard of space and belt past Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Andre Schurrle struck on the counter attack to cancel out Lacazette’s close range opener, as Fulham and Arsenal are locked at 1 thanks to magic from the London clubs’ respective German and French stars.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bettinelli made an outstanding save when Hector Bellerin hammered a knuckling shot toward the far post to open the second half.

Lacazette made Bellerin’s offer a bonafide warning sign, shooting off a bounce that may’ve took the slightest of touches off Ream’s foot outstretched before bounding past a diving Bettinelli.

And then Ramsey.

Bellerin’s cute flick helped the ball move from the right wing to the left wing, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clipped a cross to the top of the box. Ramsey swept his back leg behind him to spin the ball inside the far post.

The riot continued with ease, Aubameyang making the most of interplay between Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bellerin to settle the ball with class before ripping a shot beyond Bettinelli.