Arsene Wenger hopeful Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is fit for huge Tottenham derby

Nick Howson
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Arsenal are hopeful of having defender Laurent Koscielny available for the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur as the Frenchman continues to recover from a knee injury. The 31-year-old suffered an fitness scare in the 1-0 Premier League win over Leicester City but after lengthy treatment was fit to finish the 90 minutes at The Emirates Stadium.

Koscielny suffered a hyper-extension of his left knee in an off-the-ball incident in the second half against Leicester and has been monitored by the Gunners' medical team since the game. He remains in contention to face Spurs but Wenger was unable to confirm whether he will be part of the squad which travels to their arch rivals.

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Shkodran Mustafi remains out with an thigh problem, joining four other players on the sidelines ahead of a pivotal game in Arsenal's attempts to qualify for the Champions League. Lucas Perez, Santi Cazorla, David Ospina, are also sidelined for the trip to Tottenham.

"The uncertainty we have at the moment is about Laurent Koscielny," Wenger told reporters, according to Sky Sports. "The news yesterday was quite positive so I hope that he has a chance to be available. (Mustafi), I would say two weeks."

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The last three games against Middlesbrough, Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and Leicester has seen Wenger opt for three at the back for the first time since 1997. Koscielny started alongside Gabriel and Rob Holding in midweek and the trio are set to be retained when Arsenal visit Tottenham, who themselves are one of the sides to use the formation with great success this season.

Laurent Koscielny

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"It's a bit early to come to any conclusions because we've only played that system for three games," the Arsenal boss added. " It will be a good test on Sunday [against Tottenham], even if I've not yet decided what kind of shape we will start the game with. I have not decided the line-up but personally I am impressed [with Rob Holding]. I believe he has a great future because he is very intelligent and has a very objective analysis of his own performance and I think that's the biggest part in the improvement of a player.

"I expect an open match, committed match. A match with high pace, but there could be goals in there because both teams play positive football and try to go forward and to play in offensive ways. Normally that results in goals when you look at the quality on both sides."

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