Arsenal have been dealt a hefty injury blow ahead of the north London derby with the news that Bacary Sagna will not be available for the clash.
Arsene Wenger’s side travel to White Hart Lane for a crucial showdown with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday and will be significantly weakened by the absence of the France full-back.
Added to the long-term absence of Kieran Gibbs, Sagna’s injury means the Arsenal boss is without his two first-choice full-backs.
Carl Jenkinson is likely to come in for Sagna at right-back but he has looked uncertain when deputising recently and is likely to be given a stern test by Gareth Bale.
The Spurs winger has been in sensational form of late, scoring eight goals in his last six games, and will be looking forward to facing an Arsenal defence that has been accommodating to opposition attackers of late.
Both Wenger and his Tottenham counterpart Andre Villas-Boas know a win is vital in the clash.
For the Gunners a win means pulling themselves to within a point of their rivals and reigniting their Champions League qualification hopes.
Meanwhile, Tottenham know a win will be as hug boost to their quest to finish in the top four and above the club at the other end of Seven Sisters Road for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign.
Midfielder Abou Diaby could also be out for Arsenal with a small calf problem, though there are no other doubts for Wenger.
Tottenham will be desperate to get some revenge over the Gunners for the 5-2 defeats they were handed in both of the last two meetings between the clubs.