Why Arsenal’s change of plan meant Gabriel Jesus missed Sporting Lisbon clash | Football


Gabriel Jesus is closing in on making his Arsenal comeback (Picture: Getty)

Gabriel Jesus missed Arsenal’s trip to Portugal in midweek after the club made a late decision to return to London on Thursday night.

Confusion surrounded the absence of the Brazil international who is closing in on making his eagerly-anticipated comeback.

The 25-year-old hasn’t featured for the Gunners since November but returned to first team training last week for the first time since he underwent knee surgery in January.

Jesus had a galavanising impact on Arsenal’s forward line following his summer transfer from Manchester City and his impending return could not be better timed ahead of a daunting run-in.

Arsenal’s No.9 had been expected to make the trip to Lisbon and, according to the Evening Standard, was slated to take part in Friday morning’s training session in the Portuguese capital.

Mikel Arteta, however, performed a U-turn and decided that the first team squad would instead fly back to England immediately after Thursday’s game which ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Premier League leaders are, meanwhile, almost certain to be without Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah for Sunday’s trip to Fulham but Arteta remains unlikely to risk throwing Jesus straight back into the fold.

Captain Martin Odegaard is, however, expected to return from illness as is Kieran Tierney who was sent home from training on Wednesday.

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Wining at Craven Cottage is likely to prove anything but straightforward for Arteta’s side who have been shipping goals at an alarming rate in recent weeks,’ said Arteta after the draw against the Portuguese side.

‘We are conceding too many simple goals and we’ve talked about the importance of boxes, and especially in a competition where you are in or out.

‘Today we didn’t defend that well enough, and we have to do better up against our opponents.

‘We’ve had a lot of really emotional games recently, and today we made a lot of changes, meaning that cohesion needs some time.

‘You could feel that in the first 10-15 minutes that we needed some time to adapt and to click, but if we don’t expose them, that’s never going to happen.’

MORE : Mikel Arteta warns Arsenal they must ‘dramatically improve’ in one area after Sporting Lisbon draw

MORE : Mikel Arteta and William Saliba praise Jakub Kiwior on his Arsenal debut

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