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In Focus: Jesus' return gives Gunners a new lease of life
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Mitchell Fretton

Gabriel Jesus was back in an Arsenal shirt for the first time since November as the Gunners saw off Fulham at Craven Cottage last weekend.

Mikel Arteta's men sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League and have the chance to extend their gap to Manchester City as they welcome managerless Crystal Palace to the Emirates this afternoon.

And with the return of the skilful Brazilian forward, the North London outfit will be more confident than ever that they can go on to win the title for the first time since 2004.

Ahead of the Palace clash, we take a deep dive into the impact Jesus can have in the final months of the season.

Packing a punch

Arsenal's No9 was loving life before picking up a knee injury at the World Cup in Qatar.

The 25-year-old had tallied 10 goal contributions in 14 appearances in the top flight before requiring surgery in December and now will be looking to pick up where he left off.

Since joining the Gunners from Manchester City last summer, Jesus has only been on the losing side in one league match — the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United in early September.

Having won four Premier League titles during his time at the Etihad, the 59-cap international will bring undoubted experience and quality for Arsenal's run-in.

Gabriel Jesus will hope to add to his goal tally against Crystal Palace
Gabriel Jesus will hope to add to his goal tally against Crystal Palace

A welcome return

Arteta has rotated well in Jesus' absence and although Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard have all had a positive impact in the No9 role, the Spanish boss could not hide his excitement over his summer signing's return.

Arteta, 40, said: "It was great to see him back — you can feel the happiness of everyone.

"We missed him and now he’s back. We have to manage his minutes, his involvement in the squad and the team.

"He’s feeling good and every day he’s training he says his sensations are better and better, so that’s really positive."

Jesus managed 45 minutes of the Europa League tie with Sporting on Thursday night and is now in contention to start against the Eagles.

Suiting the style

Gabriel Jesus has had a major impact in front of goal for Arsenal
Gabriel Jesus has had a major impact in front of goal for Arsenal

High-energy performances are at the centre of Arsenal's success and Jesus leads from the front with his pressing and aggressive nature.

Despite missing 12 Premier League games, the Sao Paulo-born finisher has still delivered strong numbers this term.

Only 20 players have had more shots than the determined attacker and only 15 have recorded more than the Brazilian's 21 on target.

Furthermore, the ex-City star has completed 28 of his 59 attempted take-ons compared to team-mate Nketiah's 15.

But Arteta values Jesus' defensive contributions just as much as his play in the final third and will be hopeful that his work-rate will plug any gaps that other teams may look to exploit.

Jesus has made 20 tackles in 2022-23 compared to Nketiah's 12 and the South American also ranks higher in interceptions and possessions won.

So while his return will provide a welcome boost in attack, it will also bring benefits in other areas of the pitch.

Breeding success

Gabriel Jesus is back in action following knee surgery
Gabriel Jesus is back in action following knee surgery

Jesus knows what it takes to get over the line in the title race and will relish the chance to help Arsenal end their 19-year wait for domestic glory.

Working under former City assistant Arteta and colleague Oleksandr Zinchenko, the trio will form a crucial core for the Gunners' final push across the last 11 league fixtures.

Having famously scored the 94th-minute goal which secured the Citizens a 100-point tally in 2017-18, Jesus could engineer more magical moments in the coming months.

But his first task will be to ensure the league leaders do not slip on a banana skin against the struggling South Londoners.


Premier LeagueArsenalGabriel Jesus
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