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Five trends of the 2014-15 Premier League

Tactics & Analysis
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By ESPN Staff

Henry struggling to make derby game

Thierry Henry has been ruled out of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham.

The brilliant French striker is struggling to shrug off a neck problem, which saw him miss last weekend's trip to Bolton.

Henry, 29, was back in the starting XI for Wednesday night's match against Fulham, but manager Arsene Wenger yesterday revealed he would undergo further tests ahead of the north London derby.

'It is a problem with his sciatic nerve,' said the Arsenal manager.

The likes of Julio Baptista, Freddie Ljungberg, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Eboue were all absent from the squad at Fulham, while Cesc Fabregas came off the bench at half-time.

Wenger's calculated gamble failed to pay off against the Cottagers, who rose to the challenge and raced into a two-goal lead inside 19 minutes and a second consecutive away defeat in the Barclays Premiership saw the Gunners' title hopes all but disappear.

Wenger had suggested this next run of games - which also includes a crunch Champions League trip to Porto next week before the clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on December 10 - would prove to be the 'moment of truth' for his side's campaign.

While stopping short of conceding the Premiership crown, privately the French coach will know it would take something of a minor miracle for Arsenal to overhaul the 16-point deficit on leaders Manchester United, even with a match in hand.

Wenger, however, maintained his full focus was now on Spurs - and not ahead to next week's crucial European tie.

He said: 'The Tottenham game is the important game of the week now.

'It is in front of us.

'We must give everything to win this game then see what we do afterwards for the Porto match.'

Central defender Philippe Senderos must serve an instant one-match suspension following his dismissal for a second yellow card with just over 30 minutes left at Craven Cottage.

Although William Gallas is making good progress with his thigh injury, tomorrow's game may come too soon for his return, so Johan Djourou can expect to start.

Spurs were one of the top-flight clubs not to be involved in midweek action - a quirk of the fixture list which certainly did not impress the Arsenal manager.

Wenger, though, insists his men will be more than ready for the challenge which awaits them in the first north London derby to be played at the new 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium.

'We have a difficult game coming up against Tottenham, and I do not agree at all with the way the fixtures have been organised - it is a farce,' bemoaned the Frenchman.

'We play now against opponents who did not play this week - but we will beat them.'