Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus is closing in on a return after a long-term injury.
Such is Arsenal’s form, it is hard to believe they have been without their first-choice centre-forward since the World Cup. The injured Gabriel Jesus has not played since November 12 but Mikel Arteta and co have maintained their Premier League title push in his absence regardless.….CONTINUE READING
But the return of Jesus is nigh and having the energetic Brazilian back in the squad will be an immense uplift for the run-in. The 25-year-old produced five goals and six assists in the first 14 games of the league campaign and was an influential presence up top as the trigger of the Gunners’ press.
Football.London report that Arsenal are hopeful of having the former Manchester City forward back in the squad before the international break at the end of the month. The striker having two weeks over the break to hone his sharpness to get back into the starting line-up in April would be hugely beneficial.
Arsenal face a six-game run across April and early May that will likely define whether they are champions or runners-up come 6.30pm on May 28. Their first match after the break is at home to relegation-threatened Leeds, a match the hosts will be expected to win, and after that comes the testing aforementioned period.
A trip to Liverpool awaits on April 9. Arsenal have not won inside 90 minutes at Anfield since September 2012 and have received some top-flight batterings – including two 5-1s and two 4-0s – since then. Arteta’s team having a fully-fit Jesus to harass Liverpool’s defence from the start would improve their chances of victory.
Jesus being fit for an away game at West Ham next up (Sunday April 16) would also be a boost, while the visit of relegation-battling Southampton at the Emirates on April 21 could offer an opportunity for the Brazil international to improve his goal tally. Arsenal will need Jesus and the other attackers need to be at their clinical best on Wednesday 26 April.
That date sees Arsenal travel up to the Etihad to take on title rivals Man City in what could be a do-or-die encounter. At present, there is a five-point gap between the two sides but who knows what the difference will be then, on the 33rd match-day of the season.
Jesus should be at peak sharpness at that time, and will hope to inspire a much-needed win against his old club who have won all of the last seven meetings between the two. Arsenal also lost their last home match to Chelsea, who visit the Emirates three days later on April 29, and their No 9 can help them avoid the same fate this time around.
The six-match run concludes against Newcastle on May 6. St James’ Park is notoriously a tricky away fixture, especially with the resolute Magpies faring so well under Eddie Howe this term. Arsenal lost 2-0 there last season and cannot afford the same slip-up. Again, Jesus’ enthusiasm will be crucial.
Arsenal’s season is not done there, of course, and the pressure will still be on for the final three games against Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A) and Wolves (H). But it is that stretch of matches across April and the start of May where we will really see if they can hold their nerve. And Jesus being back to full fitness can help Arsenal get over the line and write history with a first title since 2004.….CONTINUE READING