Arsenal earned a much-needed win over Chelsea to close the gap to them in the top four to just three points, but it came at a heavy cost.
The Gunners’ away form in the Premier League has been abysmal with three defeats and two draws in their last five outings, but were an altogether different prospect at the Emirates on Saturday evening.
They hosted a Chelsea side that had yet to add Gonzalo Higuain to their ranks, and with Alvaro Morata out of the picture, Eden Hazard led the line with Pedro and Willian in support.
But it was Arsenal that took the lead after just 14 minutes. Alexandre Lacazette did superbly to turn in the box and strike at the near post after Hector Bellerin found him with a great pass from the right flank.
The hosts doubled their lead within minutes of the half-time whistle.
Sokratis hooked the ball into a dangerous area after a set-piece, and despite the presence of five Chelsea players around him, Laurent Koscielny headed home from close range despite the offside protestations from the Blues.
Chelsea rallied in the second half, but were unable to significantly threaten Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal-frame, mustering just one shot on target despite having the lion’s share of possession.
What looks to be a devastating blow occurred 20 minutes from time, however.
Bellerin wasn’t in contact with any other player and didn’t look under duress, but as he made a stride his left knee appeared to pop, with the Spaniard immediately going to ground in a great deal of pain. He had to be stretchered off the pitch with Mo Elneny replacing him.
This doesn't look good… Bellerin's been stretchered off after going down in the Chelsea half
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 19, 2019
Arsenal saw out the remainder to win 2-0 and join Manchester United on 44 points, but the status of Bellerin for the remainder of the season has been cast into serious doubt.
Bellerin had only just returned to the side having missing almost a month of action following a leg injury in December, with Stephan Lichtsteiner deputising for the right back.