Arsene Wenger could welcome Shkodran Mustafi and Danny Welbeck back into his squad when Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates on Saturday.
The first North London Derby of the season is the marquee Premier League clash of the weekend as Arsenal welcome fierce rivals Tottenham at the Emirates on Saturday. With the Gunners looking to get back to winning ways, Arsene Wenger has been buoyed by his injury woes easing up.
The hosts have just two players on the treatment table post the dreaded international break, with Olivier Giroud sustaining a thigh injury on France duty, while Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee as he continues to recover from a gruesome Achilles injury, that could keep him out until January.
Speaking about Giroud’s injury during his pre-match press conference, Wenger confirmed that the problem is only short-term, although he will not be available this weekend, while also remaining coy on the possibility of Alexandre Lacazette returning to the starting lineup.
Wenger on Cazorla: “He has competent medical people around him & he tries to practice, but I have not spoken to him recently. I hope he will be available in January” #Arsenal pic.twitter.com/wLhhP2C8jG
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) November 16, 2017
“Olivier picked up an injury, and I don’t think he will be available for Saturday. It is short term and he should start [training] on Monday, we will have to assess him then but I don’t think he will be available this weekend. The decision is not made yet but it’s a possibility because he [Lacazette] is available.”
The Arsenal boss also informed that Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) and Danny Welbeck (groin) are in contention to feature on Saturday, having recovered from their respective injuries. But, their availability will be determined by a late fitness test, while there is also a positive update on Laurent Koscielny.
“Mustafi will have a final check [on Friday], Welbeck as well. I’ll make decisions on all of them [on Friday]. We couldn’t use him [Koscielny] for a number of games, he just came back against City because he had an Achilles tendon injury. If he had played in midweek, he certainly would not have been available for Saturday.”
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, too, has been largely greeted by positive news post the international break, with Harry Kane (knee), Dele Alli (hamstring) and Harry Winks (ankle) returning to training this week, although the trio, as well as Erik Lamela (hip) will have to pass a late fitness test to travel to the Emirates.
Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) remain sidelined due to their respective injuries. But, Hugo Lloris (groin) and Michel Vorm (knee) are expected to be a part of the matchday squad, having shrugged off their respective problems.