Mathieu Debuchy struggled at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, but Arsène Wenger has backed the defender to fight for his place.
The 30-year-old right-back has lost his spot in the team to Héctor Bellerín, who impressed when Debuchy was injured last season.
Now struggling for minutes and, when he gets them, form, Debuchy has a long season ahead of him but Wenger is encouraging him not to give in.
“I think he has a big fight with Bellerin and he’s slowly coming back to his best,” the Arsenal manager said in Friday’s press conference. “I believe that he’s mentally very strong and very committed, and he will slowly come back and give a hard time to Bellerin.”
He may give the Spaniard a hard time but that’s unlikely enough.
Two years ago on Friday, the defender made his Arsenal debut in the League Cup win at West Brom.
33 first team appearances later and Bellerín, still just 20, is in superb form. You watch him and really have to feel there’s no displacing him for a very long time.
“Hector was always very good going forward when he was a kid,” the Arsenal manager said to Arsenal Player, who decided to move the player into a more defensive role.
“He was always questioned for his defensive responsibility and that’s where he has improved the most, without losing his drive going forward.
“I would say his defensive attitude and defensive reliability have vastly improved.”
That much is clear to see. Bellerín will be up against Leicester City’s unpredictable and direct Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton on Saturday. Should he pass, once again, with flying colours it will become very difficult to see why Debuchy – 10 years Bellerín’s senior – should be afforded many more opportunities to prove his worth.