Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has indicated that Laurent Koscielny may be ready for the FA Cup fifth-round match against Hull City on 20 February, although his centre-back partner Gabriel Paulista will miss. Wenger added that recent signing Mohamed Elneny could start, but refused to confirm he will rotate his squad heavily ahead of the upcoming Champions League match against Barcelona, which comes just before a Premier League trip to Manchester Uniuted.
Koscielny was taken off at half-time during the 2-1 victory over Leicester City, while Gabriel suffered an injury in training for that match. But Wenger now insists the France international is on the road back and may be ready for the weekend.
"Koscielny is doing well," Wenger said to Arsenal's official website. "He had a test this morning and he looks positive."
Wenger confirmed, though, that Gabriel will remain on the sidelines after his former club, Vitória, revealed that the Brazilian centre-back had returned to his homeland for treatment on a hamstring issue.
"He is running outside," Wenger said. "He is out for Saturday."
Wenger rotated his squad in the previous round against Burnley, combining some key players fringe particpants like David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Iwobi.
Asked whether he will employ similar tactics against the Tigers, especially with the upcoming crunch clashes with Barcelona and Manchester United, he said: "I will, as always, play a team thatr has a good chance to qualify. The normal squad is involved on Saturday. It is a normal squad and we'll play a usual strong team."
Wenger, in this sense, confirmed that Elneny has a chance to be in the starting line-up after the former Basel midfielder played the full game against Burnley.
"Elneny is fit. He is one of the players who could get a run [out] there," the boss confirmed. "He's mobile, he's a very good player. He's adapting at the moment and I think he's there now. We'll certainly see him against Hull. He has a chance to start."