Gabriel Jesus might return just in time for Arsenal’s crucial six-game stretch.
Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal is nearing a return from a long-term injury.
With Arsenal’s current form, it’s difficult to imagine they’ve been without their first-choice center-forward since the World Cup. Gabriel Jesus hasn’t played since November 12, but Mikel Arteta and co. have kept their Premier League title hopes alive in his absence.
But Jesus’ comeback is near, and having the lively Brazilian back in the lineup will be a huge boost for the final stretch. Throughout the first 14 games of the league season, the 25-year-old had five goals and six assists and was a crucial presence up top as the trigger of the Gunners’ press.
Arsenal are hoping to have the former Manchester City forward back in the squad before the international break at the end of the month, according to reports in London. It would be extremely advantageous for the striker to have two weeks over the break to sharpen his skills in preparation for his return to the starting lineup in April.
Arsenal face a six-game stretch in April and early May that will likely determine whether they are champions or runners-up on May 28 at 6.30 p.m. Their first game after the break is at home against relegation-threatened Leeds, which the hosts will be expected to win, followed by the aforementioned difficult time.
On April 9, a trip to Liverpool is planned. Arsenal have not won inside 90 minutes at Anfield since September 2012, and they have taken some top-flight batterings since then, including two 5-1s and two 4-0s. Arteta’s team’s chances of success would improve if they had a fully healthy Jesus to harry Liverpool’s defense from the outset.
Jesus’ availability for the upcoming away game at West Ham (Sunday April 16) would also be beneficial, while the arrival of relegation-battling Southampton to the Emirates on April 21 might provide an opportunity for the Brazil international to add to his goal total. On Wednesday, April 26th, Arsenal will need Jesus and the other attackers to be at their clinical best.
On that date, Arsenal will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face championship rivals Manchester City in what might be a decider. There is currently a five-point difference between the two teams, but who knows what the difference will be on the 33rd matchday of the season?
Jesus should be at his prime at that point, hoping to inspire a much-needed win against his old club, who have won the last seven meetings between the two. Arsenal also lost their most recent home game against Chelsea, who visit the Emirates three days later on April 29, and their No. 9 can help them avoid the same fate this time.
The six-match run ended on May 6 against Newcastle. St James’ Park is a notoriously difficult away fixture, especially with the tenacious Magpies performing admirably under Eddie Howe this season. Arsenal lost 2-0 there last season and cannot afford to make the same mistake again. Jesus’ excitement will be vital once again.
Of course, Arsenal’s season is not over, and the pressure will be on for the remaining three games against Brighton (H), Nottingham Forest (A), and Wolves (H). But it will be the stretch of matches in April and early May where we will know if they can retain their composure. And Jesus’ return to full fitness can help Arsenal cross the finish line and write history with their first title since 2004.