Arsenal are chasing a top-five finish and Champions League qualification. Here are five players they need to step up during the final stages of the season if they are to achieve this feat.
The Premier League will return from June 17th. For Arsenal, it starts with a nice, easy trip to Manchester City. They will have ten matches to play to complete their season and still harbour faint hopes of rescuing Champions League football. At present, the Gunners sit in ninth position. They are five points behind Manchester United in fifth and eight points behind Chelsea in fourth. It is unlikely that they can recover lost ground, but it is not impossible and their form under Mikel Arteta was encouraging.
With this in mind, here are five players that the Gunners need to step up to complete a remarkable end to the season and secure Champions League qualification.
5. Hector Bellerin
As soon as Hector Bellerin was fit, he was immediately ushered into the starting XI. Following a hamstring complication with his return from an ACL tear, Bellerin was offered little easing into action. Arteta needed him, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles seemingly refusing to play at right-back upon the Spaniard’s availability.
Want your voice heard? Join the Pain In The Arsenal team!
Write for us!
Bellerin did not look his sharpest during his six league starts under Arteta. It was later revealed that he was playing through a groin injury and had difficulty tackling and crossing as a result. Having almost two months to rest up and gain true match fitness might be precisely what he needs to rediscover his very best form.
In Arteta’s system, the right-back role is critical. The player plays a crucial part in building out from the back, tucking inside to offer another option in central midfield, but still has the defensive responsibilities of an orthodox right-back. Positionally and athletically, it is a challenging adaptation, requiring the player to understand when to move into certain areas of the pitch before then having the speed to do so quickly. Bellerin still has to improve in this area, but the time off might be just what the doctor ordered.