Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta revealed on Friday that Gabriel Jesus is nearing a return from a lengthy knee injury to boost the Gunners’ bid for a first Premier League title in 19 years.
Arteta’s men are five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table with 13 games of the season remaining.
Jesus has been absent since he was injured playing for Brazil at the World Cup in December.
“He’s not far now. I don’t want to give a timeline but he’s doing certain things with the team and certain things outside the team,” Arteta said.
“He’s feeling better every day and the doctors are confident with the way the injury is evolving. We are in a good place with him, I think.”
Jesus was pivotal to Arsenal’s strong start to the season, but Eddie Nketiah has proven an able deputy to keep the London club’s title challenge on course.
Even as Nketiah has struggled with a minor injury himself in recent weeks, January signing Leandro Trossard has stepped up, while Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli’s form in front of goal have kept Arsenal on top.
“It is true that we need to see when he’s back what level he is, how we’re going to fit him in and how we’re going to load him with minutes and in which games,” added Arteta on whether Jesus now has to fight for his place in the side.
“Like everybody else, he’ll have to earn his place but we know what Gaby can give to the team.”
Arsenal were briefly usurped by City after losing a top-of-the-table clash last month.
But three consecutive wins over Aston Villa, Leicester and Everton have put the Gunners back on top.
“It’s really important. It gives you momentum, it gives you confidence and it obviously puts you in a much better position in the league table, which is the most important thing,” said Arteta on his side’s return to form ahead of a clash with struggling Bournemouth at the Emirates on Saturday.
“The team is in a good place and really looking to the game tomorrow.”
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