Gabriel Jesus returns to Arsenal training for Europa League clash with Sporting

Mikel Arteta's team receive major boost ahead of round of 16 match on Thursday

Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira during a training session at the Arsenal Training Centre on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. PA
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Arsenal received a massive boost ahead of their Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday as Gabriel Jesus trained with the team after a long injury lay-off.

Striker Jesus was pivotal to Arsenal's strong start to the season. However, he has been sidelined since he sustained a knee injury at the Qatar World Cup with Brazil, going under the knife in early December.

On Wednesday, Jesus trained with the rest of the squad as the Gunners, buoyed by their title charge in the Premier League, prepared to face Sporting in their round of 16 clash.

Earlier, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said Jesus is nearing a comeback from a lengthy knee injury, but remained cautious about an immediate return to the team.

"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."

In Jesus's absence, Eddie Nketiah has proven an able deputy to keep the London club's title challenge on course.

And after Nketiah struggled with a minor injury, January signing Leandro Trossard stepped up, while Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli's form in front of goal 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," Arteta said 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."

Updated: March 08, 2023, 1:20 PM