Arsenal have been handed a major fitness boost ahead of their game against Manchester United on Sunday as Gabriel Paulista returned to first-team training. The Brazilian defender picked up a muscle injury ahead of the Gunners' 2-1 win over Leicester and missed the games against Hull City and Barcelona in the FA Cup and Champions League respectively.
Arsene Wenger had revealed that the defender faced a fitness test during his pre-match press conference on Thursday (25 February) while hinting that he could be available to face the Red Devils at Old Trafford in what will be a crunch clash in terms if the title race. Arsenal are hoping to keep pace with Leicester, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, while United are fighting to finish in the top four, a prospect that is looking difficult as they sit six points behind their local rivals from across Manchester.
"Gabriel has a test today and tomorrow then we will see if he is available for the game," Wenger said, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
Gabriel had replaced Per Mertesacker, who has been the French manager's preferred choice alongside Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the back four, following the German's red card against Chelsea, but the injury has given the former Werder Breman player his place back. Wenger will have a decision to make ahead of their trip to Old Trafford and could decide to field the Brazilian, who trained with the first-team squad ahead of the game on Saturday (27 February), as shown on Arsenal's official site, to counter the pace in United's attack.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are still without Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is the latest entrant into the club's treatment room. The former two are expected to be back in March, while the latter two are facing a longer term absence with thigh and knee injuries respectively.