Arsenal pair Mertesacker and Gibbs ready for Tottenham game

Arsenal could have Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs available for the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, ESPN has reported.

Both players were substitutes for the Gunners’ 2-1 home defeat against Southampton in the Capital One Cup with manager Arsene Wenger confirming they were carrying knocks and he decided against risking them.

But Wenger said after the Saints game that the players were close to being included against Southampton and should be ready to play Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.

Without the duo against Southampton, Wenger had to instead name an inexperienced back four that contained Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Isaac Hayden and Francis Coquelin. Wenger was also without long-term absentee Mathieu Debuchy, who has had ankle surgery, and Nacho Monreal.

“They will be all right,” Wenger said regarding Mertesacker and Gibbs and their availability for the weekend. “We are a bit short, yes, because of the injuries we have,” he acknowledged. “You sit there and think: Gibbs had a little hamstring problem and we could not play him, Mertesacker is a bit on the edge, and then we have no choice.”

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