By Richard Clarke
Sol Campbell will not be returning to the Arsenal side for the North London derby on Saturday.
The centre back, who moved to Highbury from Tottenham in 2001, has not yet recovered from surgery on the broken nose he suffered at Portsmouth last week. However he is expected to be back in the squad for the Champions League Semi-Final second leg at Villarreal on Tuesday.
Arsenal suffered no injuries during the first leg on Wednesday night but, with games stacking up, Arsène Wenger will definitely shuffle his squad for the crucial Premiership match with Tottenham on Saturday. The question is how.
"Sol is not back for Saturday," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon, "but he should be involved for Tuesday.
"Frankly it is a bit early [to decide on rotation]," the Frenchman added. "I need a little bit more time to decide that but I will do it. We want to beat Tottenham and find the best way to make it to the Final. I need to think about the best way to achieve that."
Meanwhile, Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole made comebacks from injury in the Reserves on Wednesday. The French full back is in contention for a first-team place soon, his English counterpart may have to wait a further fortnight.
"Gael Clichy looks ready but I don't know how much he is free pain-wise in his foot," said Wenger. "Ashley looks completely free pain-wise but looks to be behind Gael fitness-wise. Let's give him two more weeks before he is completely ready to play."
Arsenal TV Online subscribers will be able to see the full interview with Arsène Wenger on Friday morning. In it, the Arsenal manager talks about: the Villarreal game, his tactics for the second leg, more on his rotation policy, the last North London derby at Highbury and the reasons for Tottenham's relative success this season.
Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source