Gabriel Jesus is set to travel with the Arsenal squad to Portugal for their Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon, although it is unlikely that he will be involved in the match as he continues his recovery from a knee injury sustained at the Qatar World Cup. The Brazilian striker has not played for the Gunners since November 12 and has been sorely missed, with Eddie Nketiah stepping up in his absence.
However, Jesus’ progress means that he is likely to fly out to Lisbon on Wednesday to take the next step in his rehabilitation. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will not take any risks with Jesus in their last 16 first leg away to Sporting, instead using this as a chance to re-integrate his star striker further in training sessions. It is also unlikely that Jesus will be in the match day squad to face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
If all goes well, Arsenal potentially see the first game back from the international break as a chance to use him from the bench – the home outing against Leeds on April 1. Jesus notched five goals and six assists in the Premier League before his injury, and Nketiah initially reacted well to his sudden involvement, scoring four in his first five. However, the goals have dried up in recent months for the 23-year-old, failing to score in his last six league matches.
Despite this, Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League with 12 games remaining. In that run-in, the league leaders must travel to Liverpool, Man City and Newcastle, as well as host Chelsea and high-flying Brighton.
Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures are crucial to their title hopes, and having Jesus back in the squad will be a huge boost. The Brazilian’s pace and skill make him a nightmare for defenders, and his ability to create chances for himself and others will be vital in the final stretch of the season.
Arteta will be hoping that Jesus can hit the ground running upon his return, as Arsenal look to secure their first Premier League title since 2004. The Gunners have been impressive this season, with their defence looking much more solid than in previous years and their attack firing on all cylinders.
However, they will need all hands on deck if they are to hold off the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the race for the title. With Jesus back in the fold, Arsenal will have another weapon at their disposal as they look to end their long wait for domestic glory.
In conclusion, Gabriel Jesus’ return to fitness is a huge boost for Arsenal as they enter the business end of the season. While it is unlikely that he will feature in their Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon, his presence in the squad will be invaluable as they look to secure their first Premier League title in 17 years. With 12 games remaining, every point is crucial, and having Jesus back in form could be the difference between success and failure for Mikel Arteta’s side.