There was no escaping the news this week that Arsenal fans really didn’t want to see. Yes, leading goalscorer Alexis Sanchez will miss this weekends North London derby with a recurring hamstring injury.
Although the boss was quick to pick up on some good news, with Danny Welbeck now fully restored to the squad, we can expect to see him feature amongst the bench.
Updates on Jack Wilshere and The Ox were also positive, as they both look to get back into full training on Sunday, it shouldn’t be too long until we have full squad depth in the run-up to the Champions League.
Serge Gnabry will feature for the Under 21’s on Monday night against Newcastle, with new signing Krystian Biliek also expected to get a run out as the boss confirmed he was settling in well to English football.
Likely Line Up (4-2-3-1)
With four clean sheets in his last four games, the stats for David Ospina speak for themselves when choosing who to put between the sticks. The Colombian has settled well since getting his chance, and given his recent performances, it will be confidence we need against a Spurs side who like to fight until the end.
Hector Bellerin will look to continue his impressive stint at right-back, after the 19 year old made it into the Premier League team of the week following the 5-0 victory over Aston Villa. There’s no reason for Nacho Monreal to lose his place, but Wenger may feel Kieran Gibbs will be a better option on the left flank that will need some boost following the injury to Alexis.
Mertesacker and Koscielny will be happy in the centre, and with new boy Paulista waiting in the wings for his chance, they know they can’t afford any more slip ups.
A growing partnership is forming between Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin who will sit in the deep midfield position. Coquelin will be keen to get stuck into this one, with his deep connections with the Gunners, he knows how big this game is.
Up ahead, Santi Cazorla is still forcing Mesut Ozil to play on the wings, as he continues his monumental success in the centre attacking position. Theo Walcott and Ozil will alternate on the wings to keep things fresh, but this is a game where Walcott thrives.
Olivier Giroud will lead the charge in attack, as Alexis is forced to the sidelines and Welbeck still returning from injury. Chuba Akpom will be placed on the bench again, but may have to forget about getting any minutes with Welbeck now in contention.
Likely Arsenal XI –
Bellerin Mertesacker (c) Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Cazorla Ozil
Likely Tottenham XI –
Walker Fazio Vertonghen (c) Rose
Lamela Eriksen Dembele