Arsenal team news: Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech ruled out of Tottenham derby, Jack Wilshere return delayed

Arsenal take on rivals Tottenham this weekend in what could be the biggest match of their season as their Premier League title hopes hang by a thread

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The Independent Football

Arsenal head into this Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham without two key players after Arsene Wenger ruled both goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Laurent Koscielny out of the short trip to White Hart Lane.

Having already seen Santi Cazorla suffer a setback in midweek that looks likely to keep him out for most of the season run-in, Wenger delivered more bad news on Friday when it was confirmed that Cech’s calf injury – suffered when running back to his own goal from an attacking corner during the 2-1 defeat by Swansea – will keep him out for “three to four weeks”.

He joins Koscielny on the sidelines, although the France international is only expected to miss this weekend’s encounter with a “small injury” and could return in time to feature in Arsenal’s FA Cup fifth round replay against Hull next week.

There was more frustration in the latest update of Jack Wilshere’s rehabilitation from a broken leg, with the England midfielder still “three to four weeks away” from a return. Wenger also admitted that the 24-year-old is yet to start running again, meaning a return this month is highly unlikely.

It means that Arsenal’s injury list has stretched out once again, and with the side in danger of dropping out of the Premier League title race before it really gets going, Wenger is up against it to turn their fortunes around and potentially save his future at the club.

Find out the latest Arsenal injury news by clicking the gallery below.

Arsenal can move level on points with second-placed Tottenham on Saturday if they win, although they need a 6-0 victory if they are to overhaul them on goal difference. Even if Arsenal suffer defeat, they cannot be overtaken by Manchester City or Manchester United this weekend, although City game in hand would give them the advantage in the title picture.

A loss to Spurs could result in Arsenal being left nine points behind leaders Leicester should the Foxes prevail in their trip to Watford on Saturday evening.