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Arsenal’s Monreal fit for big derby showdown

Boost for Gunners as defender is declared available for Wembley clash against Spurs

08 February, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Nacho Monreal was forced off at half-time during Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Everton

ARSENAL have been boosted by the news that defender Nacho Monreal is available for Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham after recovering from illness.

The 31-year-old was a doubt for the Wembley showdown after being forced off at half-time during Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Everton at the Emirates.

The Gunners are also hopeful that Petr Cech will be fit, having also failed to see out the match against the Toffees after suffering a kick to his calf.

With Danny Welbeck also expected to be back on the bench following a hip problem, Arsenal will have a near fully-fit squad as they look to close a four-point gap to Spurs.

In fact, the only long-term absentee going into the derby is Santi Cazorla.

Arsene Wenger says that the club’s near trouble-free campaign on the medical front is down to rotation.

The Gunners boss has been able to rest key Premier League players in Europe and the Carabao Cup, while an early exit from the FA Cup has also meant that some players have had longer to recover, while giving others enough competitive games to stay match-fit.

“First of all, we rotated more in the Europa League and were able to rest more players,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Afterwards, you always improve by learning from the seasons before.

You learn more about the general concept of the training intensity.

“We also learn more about the individuals. We have a deeper analysis of what happened with the player last year, whether he got injured, how many games he played in three weeks and when he got injured. From the player’s injury history, you learn when to rest him and when to play him.

“It’s about adapting the training loads to the history of the individuals. It’s also about strengthening where they’ve had weak moments in their history.”

Meanwhile Wenger has dismissed any concerns surrounding Arsenal’s away form ahead of their Premier League trip to Wembley on Saturday.

Despite seeing his side lose six times on the road this season, the Frenchman said: “Personally, I never believed away and at home – for me it’s no different.

“I never could understand that home and away mentality. It’s something that remains a mystery for me and for me there is no difference. The pitch is 105 to 68 today everywhere. The quality of the pitch is good everywhere, so I don’t see what can be different.”


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