North London Derby Team News: Sagna Out, Diaby in Doubt

Shaun Botterill

Arsenal have released their team news ahead of their clash with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and Abou Diaby and Bakary Sagna are not going to be fit for the fixture.

Some Arsenal fans may have been comforting themselves with the idea that perhaps the good version of Bacary Sagna would magically appear at White Hart Lane this weekend and put the shackles on Gareth Bale. Those fans hopes have now been dashed by Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager has confirmed that Sagna will not be ready for Sunday.

Meanwhile, Abou Diaby's status is more uncertain. Wenger characterized the midfielder's chances of playing as better than 50/50, but his calf injury does still need time to heal. Kieran Gibbs is also out with a long-term injury.

Sagna's absence is the one that hurts the most. At the beginning of the season, many would have pegged the French international as the best right-back in the league. As the season proceeded though, it became clear that Sagna was actually kind of shit. Unfortunately, being only kind of shit still made Sagna infinitely better than Arsenal's second-choice right back, Carl Jenkinson. Jenkinson has often looked shaky when forced into playing this season and shaky isn't exactly a quality you're looking for in a right back that is going up against Gareth Bale, one of the best left wingers in the league.

If Diaby doesn't play, it will be a blow to be sure, but one that will be softened by the recent form of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire. The two British players, in combination with Mikel Arteta could still form a dynamic midfield, albeit one without a lot of steel. Tottenham's midfield hasn't exactly looked stellar of late, but still having Diaby to corral Mousa Dembele would be helpful for Arsenal.

From a Tottenham perspective, Sagna's absence is great news. Maybe he hasn't been good, but this is a derby and "you have to throw form out the window". If good-Sagna (still with a bad haircut though) showed up Sunday, we'd all be super upset. Now, that's not a worry. Plus, there's no such thing as good-Jenkinson. Gareth Bale should be all systems go on Sunday against the young Finnish/English defender and that is exactly what Spurs fans want.

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