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Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista returns to Brazil to treat injury

Gabriel Paulista has returned to his former Brazilian club Vitoria for treatment on his hamstring injury, making him doubtful for Arsenal's Champions League clash against Barcelona next week.

Gabriel missed Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win over Leicester with what Arsenal called a "slight hamstring injury" and has chosen to return home for his recovery.

Vitoria posted a photo of Gabriel giving the thumbs up while lying on a bed in the club's treatment facility and quoted him as saying that "the confidence I have in all this is very important."

He said: "Vitoria is like a real family and I'm very happy to see the club as well. I feel at home."

Arsenal have not confirmed when they expect the centre-back to return, but he is likely to miss this weekend's FA Cup game against Hull and is now a doubt for Tuesday's game against Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium.

Gabriel had been picked ahead of Per Mertesacker by Arsene Wenger recently, although the Arsenal manager said ahead of the Leicester game that Gabriel still struggles with English after a year in London, making his communication on the pitch an issue.

Fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny had to be substituted at half-time against Leicester with a dead leg, but is expected to fit for the Barcelona game.

Gabriel played for Vitoria between 2010 and 2013 before joining Spanish club Villarreal. He was brought in by Wenger in the 2015 January transfer window but has mainly been a backup to Koscielny and Mertesacker thus far.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him @MattiasKaren.


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