Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs are all injury doubts for Arsenal's clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, while Gunners manager Arsene Wenger admitted he is concerned about Granit Xhaka's temperament ahead of the north London derby.
Monreal, Cazorla and Walcott all missed Arsenal's last Premier League outing against Sunderland—the Gunners still ran out 4-1 winners—and remain potential absentees for Sunday, per Hayters' Simon Collings:
The Emirates Stadium clash with Spurs will be a tough test for Arsenal, and Wenger confirmed Gibbs is now also a doubt, but Hector Bellerin should be available despite missing the midweek win against Ludugorets Razgrad in the UEFA Champions League, per Collings:
The European win on Tuesday was Arsenal's 15th game on the bounce without defeat in all competitions and they could go top of the Premier League table if they get a result against Spurs.
Mauricio Pochettino's side fell to a morale-sapping Champions League defeat on Wednesday against Bayer Leverkusen to stretch their own run to six consecutive winless games.
However, form is an infamously fickle measure when it comes to predicting derby matches, and Spurs will be desperate to return to winning ways against their bitter local rivals at the Emirates.
Discipline can often be key in such encounters, and Wenger conceded ahead of Sunday's clash to being concerned with midfielder Xhaka, who was recently sent off for a petulant challenge against Swansea City to extend a woeful disciplinary record, per WhoScored.com:
Wenger's concern is such that he hinted the former Borussia Monchengladbach star may be left out of the starting XI, per Ben Burrows in the Mirror:
I’ve no specific idea what I’ll do [with the starting XI] but i am concerned [with Xhaka's discipline] yes.
Discipline is important and we want to be effective in the situations we face in a derby.
I think he’s quite a composed and calm guy, sometimes on the field the reaction is a bit impulsive.
He needs to work on that and his control in the game.
Arsenal's excellent start to the new season has been tempered by the fact that they have often begun campaigns well only to drop off dramatically, with November shown to be a particularly treacherous month for the Gunners, per the Telegraph's Charlie Eccleshare.
Wenger acknowledged his side's historical deficiencies in November but insisted his current squad are capable of bucking the trend, per Arsenal:
Both north London derbies in the Premier League last season ended in draws, and it would be little surprise were the points to be shared again on Sunday.
However, such is Arsenal's momentum that they will surely play for victory in front of their home fans, and despite injuries, they have the personnel to claim a potentially crucial win over their biggest rivals.