By Will Butcher
Hector Bellerin could be set to return to the Arsenal side to face Hull City on Saturday despite suffering from a concussion against Chelsea.
Bellerin, 21, was substituted in the 17th minute of Arsenal’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea after injuring his head in a collision with fellow countryman Marcos Alonso.
However, Arsenal revealed on their website that Bellerin had successfully passed the steps required by the Football Association and is now in the final stages of protocol to be considered available.
Former Barcelona youth player Bellerin is nearing full fitness as he continues to adhere to the FA’s head injury procedure, which will allow the right-back to be declared fit.
Arsenal’s number 24 will now continue to be assessed by the Gunners’ physios and doctors ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Marco Silva’s Hull.
Former Bolton and Fiorentina left-back Alonso caught Bellerin flush in the head with an elbow as he scored the opening goal, which saw Bellerin topple to the floor.
But the three-time Spain international could now be in line to retain his place in Arsene Wenger’s side as they look to gain three points against a resurgent Hull.
Silva’s side secured a priceless 2-0 win against Liverpool last weekend, and Arsenal must be wary if they are to claim three points against the relegation candidates at the Emirates.
But the return of first-choice right-back Bellerin could prove a huge boost for the Gunners as they look to end a run of two consecutive losses against Chelsea and Watford.
Football Insider verdict:
With Hull boasting a whole host of unpredictable attacking talent in January recruits Kamil Grosicki, Evandro and Alfred N’Diaye, Arsenal must be at their best to prevent Hull from causing a second successive upset against Bellerin’s out-of-form side. The return of the Spaniard is vital to the Gunners chances of securing three points and reigniting their hopes of mounting a late title challenge to London rivals Chelsea – or at the very least making sure they finish in the top four. Bellerin has become one of the north London giants’ most prominent and relied upon figures since his breakthrough into the first team, and that proven quality will prove key if he does indeed feature against Hull.
In other Arsenal news, Chris Sutton has made this Gunners prediction.