Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League and know they need to start winning matches if they do not want to risk falling further down the table. With the first North London derby taking place this weekend, Arsene Wenger and his men will know they can’t afford to lose again as that won’t be good for the confidence of the team going forward.
Wenger, in particular, knows he cannot afford to miss out on the top four again this season as winning the Europa League is no certainty, especially considering the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Atletico Madrid may be dropping down to the Europa League as a result of their poor performances in the Champions League group stage so far.
A win for Arsenal against Tottenham on Saturday would close the gap on their arch-rivals to just one point. However, Wenger may have to play the match without some of his key players as a result of injuries.
Speaking during his press conference today, Wenger provided the following updates:
“We have some people coming in today like [Alex] Iwobi, we don’t know where they stand.
“We’ll have medical checks today.
“[Shkodran] Mustafi will have a final check tomorrow, [Danny] Welbeck as well. I will make decisions on them tomorrow.”
Arsene Wenger also confirmed Arsenal will be without striker Olivier Giroud for this weekend’s clash after having returned to their London Colney training facilities with an injury which he sustained on national team duty with France.
“Giroud picked up an injury, I don’t think he will be available. It’s short term, we have to assess him on Monday,” Wenger added.
On Jack Wilshere, Wenger had this to say;
“To keep fit and work hard,” Wenger said.
“He’s on a plan. He’s very close. It’s just a question for me to start him, he’s ready to play.”
With Mesut Ozil known to disappear in big matches, it will be interesting to see if Wenger will drop him and play Jack Wilshere. It is very unlikely, but if you ask me, I think Wilshere will be more ideal against Tottenham, than Ozil. The Englishman has shown in the little game time he has had so far this season that he still got what it takes to influence games in Arsenal’s favour.
It will also be interesting to see if Wenger will choose to play Alex Sanchez up front and drop Alexandre Lacazette to the bench like he did in the game against Manchester City. Many Arsenal fans will surely be disappointed if Lacazette drops to the bench, but knowing Wenger, that’s a possibility.