Laurent Koscielny says Tottenham Hotspur should worry about Gabriel

Laurent Koscielny

Laurent Koscielny says that his Brazilian counterpart is well equipped for his first taste of a North London derby.

Laurent Koscielny has told Arsenal's official website that team-mate Gabriel has the fighting spirit needed in a North London derby ahead of Saturday's huge trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Injured Koscielny is set to be replaced by the Brazilian defender, who is expected to partner up with Per Mertesacker in the heart of the Gunners' defence tomorrow.

Having signed for the North Londoners a little over 12 months ago, it will be Gabriel's first taste of this heated fixture but, given his South American roots, Koscielny does not expect the hostility to worry the former Villarreal man one bit.

“[Derbies suit] a defender that is a fighter because they are winners,” he told Arsenal.com. "Gabby wants to win all his duels and help his team win the game.

“It will be his first north London derby, but he will played have played a derby in Spain or Brazil so he knows what it is like and will give himself to win the game. It is more than a year that he has lived in England, and he knows his team-mates better now.

"We are happy with Gabriel, he has done a good job with his pace, determination and he wins his duels. It is very important to have a player like this in your squad. I think he has improved well. He is starting to speak English so this is good. He is more confident on the pitch and outside the pitch."

Gabriel certainly does not fear the rough and tumble of English football. During the first half of the season, the 25-year-old was sent off at Chelsea for kicking out at Diego Costa, whom he was enemies with for much of the day.

He will need that same passion tomorrow for what is arguably the Gunners' biggest game of the season, with Arsene Wenger's side knowing that defeat could effectively spell the end of their Premier League title chances.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch