Arsenal's Hector Bellerin should be fit for Tottenham, quartet remain doubts
LONDON -- Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin should be fit for Sunday's North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, but Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs remain doubtful, Arsene Wenger has said.
All four players, apart from Gibbs, were left at home for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Ludogorets Razgrad, although Wenger said Bellerin was mainly rested as a precaution.
"I left him behind because I was cautious with him. I could have basically forced the issue, he could have played maybe in Bulgaria," Wenger told a news conference. "But he should be all right."
However, Walcott, Cazorla and Monreal were all due to face fitness tests ahead of Sunday's game.
"The closest to coming back looks to be Walcott," Wenger said.
Gibbs is also a doubt after hurting his shoulder against Ludogorets, meaning Wenger could potentially be without both his left-backs for the game.
"I don't know how [Gibbs] will respond to that. I will see today," Wenger said.
Walcott has a minor hamstring problem, while Cazorla has been out for two weeks after taking a kick to his Achilles tendon.
If Cazorla cannot play, Wenger will have to decide whether to start Granit Xhaka in central midfield despite the Switzerland international's poor disciplinary record. Xhaka was sent off against Swansea last month and also picked up a booking against Ludogorets on Tuesday.
And Wenger admitted that "I am a bit concerned" about Xhaka's discipline.
"In a derby it's important to keep control of your reactions and have a strong discipline because it's part of the effectiveness in these kinds of games," Wenger said.
"Normally [Xhaka] is a very composed and calm guy, sometimes on the field he has a reaction that is a bit impulsive and he knows that. He has to work on that and keep control of his reactions in the game."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.