Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is happy with Gabriel Jesus’ return from injury but has warned the Brazilian that he isn’t guaranteed a place in the starting XI.
The Gunners made easy work of Fulham and secured a 3-0 win in their Premier League clash earlier today (12 March). Jesus made his much-awaited return to the pitch after being out of action since the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to a knee injury.
He replaced Leandro Trossard in the 77th minute and went close to scoring eight minutes later, only for his shot to be saved by Bernd Leno. Jesus joined Arsenal from Manchester City last summer for a fee of £45 million.
Before the 2022 World Cup, he registered five goals and seven assists in 20 games across competitions. The Brazil international was a key reason behind Arsenal enjoying a five-point lead at the top of the table before the season paused for the showpiece event in Qatar.
His injury was met with huge anxiety among the fanbase but the Gunners have managed to retain a five-point lead over Manchester City after gameweek 27.
Eddie Nketiah chipped in with four goals in his first five league games after the World Cup, while Trossard was signed from Brighton & Hove Albion in January. Speaking after the win at Craven Cottage, Arteta said (h/t Daily Mail):
“A big boost. It was the first step today. We didn’t know whether it was the right game but yesterday I looked him in his eyes and he said: “I am ready”. Now he needs to earn his place, like any other player.”
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are virtually guaranteed a place in Arteta’s starting XI, while Trossard’s display against Fulham doesn’t warrant dropping him anytime soon.
Mikel Arteta happy with Arsenal winger’s display vs Fulham
Leandro Trossard assisted all three of Arsenal’s goals against Fulham in their 3-0 win on Sunday.
The Belgium international was signed for a fee of £27 million and the Gunners’ investment has already started to pay dividends. Trossard was forced off the field with an injury in his team’s 3-2 league win against AFC Bournemouth on 4 March.
Manager Mikel Arteta admitted after the game that his injury situation was worrying. However, the Belgian forward was back in the starting XI against the Cottagers.
Addressing his performance against Fulham, Arteta said, via the aforementioned source:
“He was really impressive. He was willing to come back early [from groin injury]. He could have been unavailable for a week to 10 days extra. His football intelligence (is great), he knows what is required [sic.] straight away.”
The 28-year-old has one goal and five assists in 10 games across competitions for his new club.