Arsenal boss Arteta warned of Jesus ‘problem’ which may lead to unrest
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Mikel Arteta has been warned that the return of Gabriel Jesus from his lengthy injury could “cause problems,” according to Arsenal icon Paul Merson, as the Gunners look to claim their first Premier League title in 19 years. A 3-0 victory away to Fulham on Sunday saw the north London side move five points clear of second-placed Manchester City with just 11 league games remaining this season.
Jesus made his long-awaited return at Craven Cottage, replacing Leandro Trossard in the 77th minute after the Belgian had already claimed a hat-trick of assists in the first half. The Brazilian had not played since withdrawing from the World Cup prematurely and was forced to undergo knee surgery, but could play a huge part in the tail-end of the campaign after making his comeback.
Arsenal were tipped to struggle as Jesus missed four months of action, but Eddie Nketiah and January signing Trossard stepped up in his absence to spearhead the Gunners’ attack. However, Merson feels that Arteta will now have a selection dilemma on his hands that he predicts will trouble the squad down the line.
“Gabriel Jesus coming back is a bit of a problem for Arsenal because the lad will want to play – he didn’t sign to be a bit-part player like he was at Man City,” Merson wrote for Sky Sports. “It will cause problems in time but at the moment it’s like another signing.”
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Jesus will have to force Trossard out of the starting lineup and after another impressive display as a centre-forward by the Belgian, Merson believes that his mid-season signing was a masterstroke by Edu and Arteta.
“Leandro Trossard could play for Man City,” Merson added. “It’s an unbelievable signing for £27m. When his agent said to him he was going to Arsenal for that fee he must have thought, ‘Is that all I’m worth?!’
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“The lad could go in the Man City team on Tuesday and you wouldn’t know any different, he’s that good. But Arsenal play like Man City, if you put them in a light blue kit you would think they are. You don’t get bigger compliments than that.”
Jesus will get his first opportunity to oust Trossard in the Europa League last-16 second-leg tie with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, but Arteta has already told the Brazil forward that he faces a challenge to regain his spot.
“He has to earn his place like in any other team,” Arteta said after the win over Fulham. “We have alternatives who can play in different positions and we have different goals as well to fill in relation to the chemistry of the players and what we ask them to do. It’s a great problem to have, believe me.”
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