Why Arsenal’s change of plan meant Gabriel Jesus missed Sporting Lisbon clash

Gabriel Jesus nearing his Arsenal comeback (Picture: Getty)

Gabriel Jesus missed Arsenal’s trip to Portugal midweek after the club made a late decision to return to London on Thursday night.

Confusion reigned over the absence of the Brazil international who is set to make his much-anticipated comeback.

The 25-year-old has not played for the Gunners since November but returned to first-team training last week for the first time since his knee surgery in January.

Jesus had a galavanting influence on Arsenal’s forwards following his summer move from Manchester City and his forthcoming return couldn’t come at a better time ahead of a daunting clash.

The Arsenal No9 was due to travel to Lisbon and was due to train in the Portuguese capital on Friday morning, according to the Evening Standard.

Mikel Arteta, however, made a U-turn and decided the first team would instead fly back to England straight after Thursday’s game, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Premier League leaders, meanwhile, will almost certainly be without Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah for Sunday’s trip to Fulham, but Arteta remains unwilling to risk knocking Jesus straight back to his knees.

However, captain Martin Odegaard is expected to return from his illness, as is Kieran Tierney, who was sent home from training on Wednesday.

Victory at Craven Cottage will likely prove anything but easy for Arteta’s side, who have been scoring goals at an alarming rate in recent weeks,” Arteta said after the tie against the Portuguese side.

“We’re conceding too many easy goals and we’ve talked about the importance of boxing, especially in a competition where you’re in or you’re out.

“Today we didn’t defend that well enough and we have to improve against our opponents.

“We’ve had a lot of really emotional games lately and today we’ve made a lot of changes, which means cohesion will take some time.

“In the first 10-15 minutes you could feel that we needed some time to adjust and click, but if we don’t uncover them that will never happen.”

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