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Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has suffered a "small alert" and is doubtful for the FA Cup quarter-final against Watford, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed. The Wales international came on as a second-half substitute for Gabriel Paulista during the win at Hull City, but lasted just 16 minutes before going off with a thigh problem.
Per Mertesacker and Gabriel were also substituted either side of half-time at the KC Stadium with head and hamstring injuries respectively, leading to Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal partnering at the centre of a makeshift back-four. Mertesacker was involved in a clash of heads with Hull's Nick Powell while Gabriel landed awkwardly after a header, but both players are fit for this weekend's game.
Laurent Koscielny is expected to miss his fourth game in a row for Arsenal as he continues to recover from a calf problem. The France international has not played since the loss at Manchester United at the end of February, and though he faces a fitness test hours before the game he is set to be held back for the Champions League trip to Barcelona.
"We had a few injuries at Hull – Gabriel, Mertesacker and Ramsey. Mertesacker and Gabriel are very positive, there is nothing wrong there, they are both good," Wenger told Arsenal's official website. "There is a small alert [with Ramsey]; we don't know how bad it is. [Koscielny] he is not far, he will have tests until Sunday, but it could come too soon. He has a little chance. [Petr Cech, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere] are all progressing nicely, but this week and next week they have no chance."
The injury crisis potentially leaves Arsenal without five first-team players for the visit of Watford, heading into a key period of the season as their campaign continues to fall apart. The Gunners' fans displayed their displeasure at full time after the 4-0 win on 8 March with many calling for Wenger to leave the club. The 66-year-old has a contract until 2017 and is unperturbed by the criticism.
"There's nothing disappointing for me," he said, according to The Guardian. "I do my job. Look at the history of the club, since the club exists, and you will see that I have nothing to be scared of. I don't care. I do not want to speak about that because it is always the same story. It is enough now. If you have any questions ask other people. Do you know someone who has won it [the FA Cup] more than me?
"We judge the season afterwards and I'm quite amazed so many people judge it so early. We have not given up anywhere and you will see that in the coming weeks. This club has been in a much worse position than it is today."