Arsenal return to Europa League action tonight and will soon receive a boost with star striker Gabriel Jesus close to his return.
The striker suffered a serious knee injury playing for Brazil at the World Cup, forcing him to return to London early.
Richard Pelham / The Sun
Jesus has been sidelined but looks close to a return
Jesus trained with the rest of his Arsenal teammates this week
After heading back from Qatar, he had to undergo surgery which extended his expected time out.
Jesus has been recovering since the season restarted and has already missed key clashes in the Premier League title race and FA Cup.
When will Gabriel Jesus return?
Jesus is set to be back in action before the end of March.
It was thought he may only be able to play the final leg of the campaign but his recovery has gone well and he will return sooner.
The next phase of his rehabilitation was thought to have seen him head to Lisbon for Arsenal’s Europa League showdown with Sporting Lisbon.
Jesus trained in London on Wednesday before the squad flew to Portugal and, although he wasn’t in line to take any part in the game itself, he was expected to travel before Mikel Arteta opted against it.
Jesus is closing in on a comeback
Jesus was Arsenal’s early season inspiration
Jesus has scored five goals and laid on a further five assists in the Premier League since swapping Manchester City for the Gunners.
Yet despite injuries to fellow forwards Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard, his manager Arteta has insisted he won’t be rushed back.
Arteta said: “We will try not to rush him back, we will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when is comfortable and as well giving the team a boost that it’s going to need in the next few weeks for sure.
“Everything is going well, he needs time as well to get himself that confidence and that physical state that is necessary to compete with a free mind and once he’s free to do that, we will throw him in.”
Arsenal have three more games before the international break and it is expected that Jesus will be involved in at least one of these.
This weekend’s London derby with Fulham now seems highly unlikely, but Jesus could make a cameo in the return fixture with Sporting at the Emirates on March 16.
Providing he doesn’t suffer a setback then the home meeting with fellow capital rivals Crystal Palace on March 19 seems a safe bet.
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