Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has warned returning striker Gabriel Jesus that he will not simply return to the team after recovering from a long injury layoff.
Jesus inspired Arsenal in the first half of the season following his £45m summer move from Manchester City, scoring 11 direct goals in 14 Premier League appearances to start a title challenge that Arsenal is still mounting.
But a knee injury plagued Brazil’s absence from the World Cup in December, meaning a three-month layoff followed. Issa He only came back as a late substitute in Sunday’s comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Although there is no doubt that there has been a major push in the final stretch of the season, Arsenal They continued their stellar form without Jesus and found goals from other sources – Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in particular have been impressive in 2023.
This means there is work to be done to lead the role Number Nine previously had.
“Big boost. It was the first step,” Arteta said of the Brazilian’s return.
“We didn’t know if it was the right match but I looked him in the eye [the day before] He said: I am ready. Now he needs to earn his place, like any other player.
Arsenal will now put their Premier League title campaign on hold for a few days with attention returning to the Europa League and the second match of their Round of 16 against Sporting Lisbon. The first leg in Portugal finished 2-2 last week, making this match in the UAE practically a one-off play-off.
The Crystal Palace home game will then be Arsenal’s last before the March international break.
In this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90 Minutes Podcast Network, Harry Simo Arsenal’s reaction to a 3-0 win over Fulham in the Premier League and Leandro Trossard’s star performance. If you don’t see this embed, click here To listen to the podcast!