Arsenal have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the latest episode of the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday after Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld returned to first-team action in the 2-0 win against Newport County on Wednesday night to put himself in contention for a start this weekend.
The Gunners would have been hoping that they would come up against Davinson Sanchez following his horror show in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, but now Alderweireld could be lining up alongside fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the defence instead after he played the full 90 minutes against the League Two outfit.
The 28-year-old made his long-awaited return against the Exiles having been sidelined with a hamstring injury he picked up in Mauricio Pochettino’s men’s 3-1 win against Real Madrid in the Champions League on November 1.
Arsene Wenger would have been hopeful that the centre-back wouldn’t have been fit enough to start against his team – and he still might not be risked from the start by Pochettino – with the French manager ready to unleash Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on their arch-rivals’ defence as they look to close the gap between the two to just one point with a win.
The Gabon international started and scored on his debut in the 5-1 win against Everton last Saturday, and he is likely to get the nod ahead of Alexandre Lacazette again this weekend too.