Date: 16th November 2017 at 6:48pm
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been previewing the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.

Hosting Mauricio Pochettino’s side at the Emirates Stadium for the game, speaking to the Official Site as he met with he media, Wenger opened with a team news update.

‘We still have some people coming in today. They`ll have a medical check today and a recovery check. Mustafi will have a final check on Friday, Welbeck as well. I`ll make decisions on all of them on Friday.’

With Laurent Koscielny being rested in midweek by France, Wenger was pleased with that decision.

‘It was needed for him. We couldn`t use him for a number of games, he just came back against City because he had an Achilles tendon injury. If he had played in midweek, he certainly would not have been available for Saturday.’

Olivier Giroud is a doubt after picking up an injury though.

‘Olivier picked up an injury, and I don`t think he will be available for Saturday. It is short term and he should start training on Monday, we will have to assess him then but I don`t think he will be available this weekend.’

With questions turning to the derby and the squad’s toughness, he answered.

‘Well, that`s the kind of remarks you`ve had for 20 years. I remember many people asked me if Pires would be tough enough to play in the derby. This is a guy who scored more goals than anybody in the derby. At the end of the day, it`s down to the quality of the game. Yes, it depends. We have to agree on what is tough and what is not tough. I believe that a football player has to be efficient and that counts the most. Efficiency if you`re a defender is not to make any mistakes and to win the ball. If you`re a striker, it`s to put the ball into the back of the net. Is that tough? It doesn`t matter too much – it`s how efficient you are in your game.’

With plenty of experience of the clash and what it means to fans, he went on to say.

‘First of all there`s always pride involved, the desire to beat your opponent like all the neighbours in the world have. It`s always a fierce derby. As well to keeping your nerve, you must have full commitment while being lucid and calm enough to focus on the game. It`s one of the fixtures that is very important for us and that we want to win, as well because in the table we have to make some ground up on the top teams. At home we have been very strong and our home strength will certainly be vital to decide where we finish at the end of the season. I think Tottenham are a good side but we have the quality to win this game and that`s what we want to show.’

Turning to what kind of team selection he will make – with the focus upfront.

‘I have a big choice to make every time, big decisions to make up front. But he`s played many games, Alexandre Lacazette. He didn`t play away from home at City, I think that`s the only game he didn`t start along with Liverpool. I trust him completely. The decision is not made yet but it`s a possibility because he`s available.’

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