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Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Nacho Monreal was on the bench against Tottenham Hotspur with a slight calf problem and the manager did not want to worsen it by giving him his third start within the space of a week. Kieran Gibbs started in place of the Spaniard, with the England international having scored the equaliser when the two teams played at the Emirates earlier this season.
The Gunners took the lead in the first half through a brilliantly taken goal by Aaron Ramsey but Francis Coquelin's red card turned the game for Spurs, who scored twice in three minutes. However, Alexis Sanchez ended his goalscoring drought to score the equaliser and give the Gunners some hope in the title race, as they are currently eight points behind leaders Leicester City.
Wenger made three changes to the side which started against Swansea, with Mohamed Elneny getting his first start in the Premier League. The Egyptian gave a good account of himself and is likely to be in the squad against Hull City in the FA Cup replay at the KC Stadium. Meanwhile, Monreal is expected to be back for their Champions League tie against Barcelona later this month.
"We play every three games at the moment; we have some knocks like Nacho Monreal who is not 100% so you try to freshen up. He has a slight calf problem," Wenger said, as quoted by the Express.
The Gunners will look to win the FA Cup for the third year in succession and face Watford should they get the better of Hull in the fifth round replay. A point here has kept them within touching distance of Tottenham, who are three points ahead. But for the Gunners to win their first title in over a decade, they cannot afford to drop any more points and also get back to winning ways, having not picked up a win in their last five games in all competitions.