By Wayne Veysey

13th Feb, 2016 | 8:06pm

Revealed: Arsenal key player absent from training ahead of Leicester clash

By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Gabriel was absent from training on Saturday as Arsenal made final preparations for their Premier League clash against Leicester.

Football Insider has learned from a Gunners source that the Brazilian defender is struggling with a muscular injury and has emerged as a major doubt for Sunday’s top-of-the-table showdown.

Gabriel’s possible absence is a major blow for Arsene Wenger, who was initially planning on pairing the 24-year-old with first-choice centre-back Laurent Koscielny in a bit to combat Leicester’s speedy counter-attacks.

Per Mertesacker is now set to return to the team after missing Arsenal’s last three matches, the first through a one-match suspension following his red card against Chelsea last month.

Training pictures released by the club on Saturday didn’t feature Gabriel as he’s struggling to be fit for the game against Claudio Ranieri’s team, who are currently top of the Premier League table and five points clear of Arsenal.

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This would have been a fourth consecutive start for Gabriel, something he’s managed just one other time since signing for Arsenal in January of last year.

Wenger was pictured deep in discussion with Mertesacker and Koscielny in training on Saturday in a possible indication they are to be paired together at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.