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Bellerin urges Gunners to go on the attack

After north London derby defeat, Spanish defender says Arsenal must ‘take the initiative’ in chase for a top-four finish

15 February, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

HECTOR Bellerin hasn’t given up on Arsenal’s chances of securing a top-four finish this season, but says the team must show more attacking intent and take charge of their remaining matches.

A solo strike from Harry Kane saw the Gunners lose 1-0 against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, a result that leaves them seven points behind their north London rivals.

Arsene Wenger’s charges now have a two-week break from the Premier League as they turn their attentions towards a double-header against Swedish side Östersunds FK in the Europa League. They then return to Wembley to face Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup.

With silverware and plenty of precious Premier League points still up for grabs, Bellerin insists that Arsenal must look forward and stop making mistakes.

“Against Tottenham we waited too long. In the first half we were waiting for something to happen,” said the Spanish defender.

“We didn’t create chances, we didn’t have the ball like we should have done and then in the second half we paid for it.

“We need to take the initiative a bit more, to attack more and keep the ball because we didn’t do that on Saturday. I think that we weren’t at the standard required, so it’s something to look at for the next game.”

Quizzed on whether the Gunners could close the gap on their rivals, Bellerin added: “There’s still plenty of games to play. There are loads of points still to play for, so we need to look forward.

“We can’t just be stuck looking back at the game against Tottenham. We need to analyse, and need to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.

“We’ve still got quite a few games to play. We still need to play some of the big teams in the top six as well, so we’ll see. You never know what can happen in the Premier League.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been rocked by the news that striker Alexandre Lacazette has been ruled out for up to six weeks after having knee surgery on Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who squandered a couple of good chances during the north London derby defeat, had what the club described as “a success” operation.

“He will now undergo a period of rehabilitation,” Arsenal said in a statement. “It is envisaged he will return within four to six weeks.”

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