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Per Mertesacker & Kieran Gibbs fit for Tottenham clash

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Arsene Wenger expects Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs to recover from their respective injuries in time to face Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gunners crashed out of the Capital One Cup to Southampton on Tuesday night. A back four of Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers, Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerin struggled to deal with a vibrant Saints attack.

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Crisis

Wenger usually sees the cup competitions as a reason to give youngsters a chance, but the Arsenal boss admitted that had it not been for injury, he would have played more experienced defenders.

He told reporters: "We are a bit short because of the injuries we have. You sit there and you think Gibbs couldn’t play because of a slight problem, Mertesacker is a bit on the edge and then we have no choice."

With Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal already out for significant amounts of time, Wenger's refusal to sign a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen has been exposed.

Injuries

Wenger confirmed that Mertesacker had originally declared himself fit to play against the Saints, but that he decided against the risk.

"Before the last game at Aston Villa he had a little gluteus problem. He declared himself fit but at the moment we are so short that it's difficult [to play him] with the games he plays.

"We have to play on Saturday against Tottenham and then an important game on Wednesday against Galatasaray and then we go to Chelsea. To absorb all these games without being rested when you have a little problem is very difficult."

Concerns

Concerns quickly moved on from their failure in the Capital One Cup and onto Saturday when north London rivals Tottenham visit the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal have had a decent start to the season, but a win will be crucial to keep their momentum going.

In fact the Tottenham game will be followed by a crunch Champions League clash against Galatasaray and then Chelsea away, where they lost 6-1 last season. Needless to say, Arsenal will need their strongest squad to come away with positive results in those three fixtures.

Returning

Although Debuchy will be out until the new year, Wenger confirmed he will at least be able to call upon Mertesacker and Gibbs for the visit of Spurs. Chambers, who played 90 minutes against Southampton, will likely shift to right-back as Laurent Koscielny is also set to return.

He said on the pair: "They will be alright [for Saturday]."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Tottenham Hotspur
Kieran Gibbs
Per Mertesacker
Premier League

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