Wenger provides double injury news relief ahead of Tottenham game

N'Zonzi, Mertesacker, Whelan

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has rejected fears Kieran Gibbs or Per Mertesacker could miss the important game at the weekend against Tottenham Hotspur.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was quizzed after the game last night whether Kieran Gibbs or Per Mertesacker would miss the upcoming clash with Tottenham, but moved to allay fears.

Speaking to the club's official website, he stated confidently: "They will be alright."

Both were unused substitutes, and in the case of Mertesacker, he went onto elaborate: "Before the last game at 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."

Both players did feature against Aston Villa at the weekend, but in the Capital One Cup game with Southampton the club, Wenger sent out a very experimental backline.

Hector Bellerin featured at right-back, and Francis Coquelin at left-back. Teenager Isaac Hayden partnered Calum Chambers in the centre of defence.

A big decision is yet to come as to who plays at right-back in the North London derby, with Chambers likely to have the edge due to Bellerin being yet to start in the Premier League.

The concerns over Mertesacker's fitness add context as to why the German was left out against Southampton, especially with a need to ensure he is match fit after his late return to the squad after the World Cup.

Fans will accept the loss to the Saints, beaten by a better team on the night, but they will not feel the same way should they lose to Tottenham, and that is why Arsene Wenger just felt he could not risk either Mertesacker or Gibbs last night, even with the slightest concerns over their fitness.

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