Wenger upbeat on Gabriel Paulista fitness for Manchester United clash

Arsene Wenger Press Conference Smiling - 16/02/2014

The defender has been missing since picking up a hamstring injury before the win over Leicester City.

Arsene Wenger is hopeful of having defender Gabriel Paulista fit for Arsenal’s big clash with Manchester United this weekend, he has told the club’s official website.

The defender has been absent since picking up a hamstring injury before the 2-1 win over Leicester City.

That injury came as a big blow to the Gunners, with the Brazilian having impressed since coming in following Per Mertesacker’s sending off against Chelsea.

He could be set to return against Manchester United though, with Wenger saying he is set to return to the first team fold tomorrow and the signs are positive ahead of Sunday’s game.

“He is coming back into the squad tomorrow,” he told arsenal.com.

“So we will see how he responds to that, but the signs are positive. He might be available for Sunday.”

It will be interesting to see if Wenger chooses to go with Gabriel ahead of Per Mertesacker should he prove his fitness.

The German has been a mainstay in the side this season, and recently impressed in the loss to Barcelona, but many are convinced his lack of pace puts the Gunners defence at risk.

With Antony Martial likely to start upfront in the game given Wayne Rooney’s absence, that could be a big danger in Sunday’s game, and it will be curious to see if Wenger will risk Mertesacker against him.

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