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Xhaka's disciplinary record gives Wenger cause for concern

Football Soccer - PFC Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group A - Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria - 1/11/16 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic/Files
Football Soccer - PFC Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group A - Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria - 1/11/16Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Action Images via Reuters / Paul ChildsLivepic/Files

(Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged "impulsive" midfielder Granit Xhaka to maintain his discipline as a heated north London derby looms when Tottenham Hotspur visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Xhaka has made an impressive start to his Arsenal career, but his ability to control his temper was called into question after he picked up his eighth red card in two and a half years in the Premier League win over Swansea City last month.

"I'm a bit concerned, yes, because the discipline is important. We want to be effective in all positions we face. In derbies it is important to maintain discipline," Wenger told reporters on Thursday.

The 24-year-old, who joined from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in the close season, is likely to return to the starting line-up after Wenger confirmed influential midfielder Santi Cazorla is a doubt for Sunday's clash.

"He's (Xhaka) quite normally a composed and calm guy - sometimes he has a reaction that is a bit impulsive. He has to work on that and keep control of his reactions in the game," Wenger added.

The left back position could be a cause of concern for Wenger on Sunday as Kieran Gibbs, who picked up a minor shoulder problem after Tuesday's Champions League win over Bulgarian side Ludogorets, and Nacho Monreal remain a doubt.

"There's still some uncertainties," Wenger said.

Right back Hector Bellerin is likely to return to the first team after being rested for the midweek clash against Ludogorets while in-form winger Theo Walcott faces a late fitness test.

Striker Olivier Giroud has scored two goals in his last three games but is unlikely to usurp Alexis Sanchez in the first team as the winger has excelled in the central striker role, scoring eight goals in 14 appearances so far.

However, Wenger was quick to dismiss the notion Giroud would be used as a "plan B".

"There's no plan B in any squad," he said.

"The way a manager thinks is just 'what is the next game?' He (Giroud) has shown that he is a huge asset for the club."

Wenger also said it would be an "intelligent decision " to rest midfielder Mesut Ozil for Germany's upcoming internationals.

Arsenal are second in the table, a point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham after 10 games.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

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