Arsene Wenger on key injury boost for Spurs clash and confirms defender misses out

Arsene Wenger has welcomed back one midfielder but confirmed a defender misses out ahead of Arsenal's match with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Mathieu Flamini is available for selection in the North London derby, but says Nacho Monreal is out.

The Spaniard, 28, has not featured since playing all 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City a fortnight ago.

Wenger rested Kieran Gibbs in the week to ensure he stayed healthy, and used Francis Coquelin as left-back, who is likely to make the bench as cover.

Wenger told "The only difference compared to Villa and Southampton is that Mathieu Flamini might be available again. He had a dead leg. I feel he should be back.

"Everyone else is similar to where they were. Monreal is not back yet. The likes of Giroud, Debuchy and Walcott are unavailable."

Flamini, 30, had not featured since the loss to Dortmund, but had played 90 minutes in three consecutive games prior to his injury, so he will certainly be in the forefront of Arsene Wenger's thinking.

He will have fond memories of playing Tottenham with Arsenal last season, landing up on the winning side in both Premier League matches, and getting stuck in, despite playing only a combined 68 minutes, ensuring Spurs did not score a goal in either contest.

  TeamVsPassing AccuracyWon TacklesInterceptionsBall RecoveriesAppearancesMins Played
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal Tottenham 76% 3 4 2 2 68

Arsenal have often faced criticism in the past of having a lack of leaders in the side, but Flamini is one of the most vocal players on the pitch they have, and one of the most experienced.

In a derby game, he is the type of player who will be vital, especially if the flow of the game begins to go against the Gunners, and Arsene Wenger, criticised for not buying a new defensive midfielder for three consecutive summers, may put his faith in last season's free agent addition once again.

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