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Latest Injury Updates on Odegaard, G. Jesus and Trossard

Three things noticed from Gabriel Jesus' first Arsenal training session  after £45m move - Mirror Online

Following what was quite an intense battle against Sporting CP in Lisbon, the Premier League returns to our screens with Bournemouth hosting red-hot Liverpool in the lunch time fixture, but everyone connected with Arsenal will take keen interest on the proceedings at Selhurst Park in the last fixture, when former Gunner, Patrick Vieira, leads his men against the defending champions, Manchester City. The Cityzens know that a win against Crystal Palace cuts the lead at the top to two points once again, putting Mikel Arteta’s men under intense pressure to come up with the goods against Fulham away.

Arteta will have some injury concerns to contend with, and as we are already aware, Mohamed Elneny remains the only long term absentee thus far, after going under the knife to mitigate a knee injury and following his new contract extension, the Egyptian midfielder will remain at the club for another campaign, which will give him the chance to say his goodbyes the right way when that contract expires.

Injuries are part and parcel of the beautiful game and what matters the most is how clubs react to them. Elneny got injured at a time when Arsenal’s midfield general, Thomas Partey, had his own injury concerns, and with Albert Sambi Lokonga set to depart the club on loan, it was absolutely essential for the Gunners to add quantity and quality to the midfield, and that came from a surprising transfer – Jorginho from London rivals, Chelsea. Jorginho hit the ground running from the get-go allowing Arsenal the opportunity to allow Partey recuperate fully well from his injury, and we have reaped the benefits of that, with Jorginho being a positive influence, on and off the pitch.

Elsewhere, club captain, Martin Odegaard, has been a mainstay in the first team and his attacking output has been exemplary, scoring nine goals and laying up six assists for his teammates. He trained well with the team and even travelled to Lisbon to be part of the squad to take on Sporting CP, but he became unwell and couldn’t feature in the game, putting his next clash against Fulham at risk. It’s been reported that Odegaard is recovering well from his illness and the Viking chieftain is very hopeful he would feature in the all-important clash against Fulham, but he will have to go through a fitness test to ascertain whether he will be fit enough to start. 

Odegaard’s position in the squad is one that Mikel Arteta is stacked with options should the captain not be fit enough to start. Fabio Vieira is finding his rhythm in the side and will be pleased with his assist in his native country in midweek, and his style of play is somewhat similar to the Norwegian. Emile Smith-Rowe is another plausible option to play the Odegaard role, but the Englishman is still working his way to full fitness and isn’t really for the big time yet. Arteta can also tear a script from the Liverpool handbook and play three tenacious industrious hard workers – Partey, Jorginho and Granit Xhaka in midfield, but that’s highly unlikely, as it would affect the dynamism of the attacking play.

Gabriel Jesus is another player itching for a comeback, with his last competitive appearance for Arsenal coming before the World Cup in Qatar. Jesus didn’t feature much in the mundial, and managed to start alongside Gabriel Martinelli in the dead rubber game against Cameroon, but he suffered a knee injury that required surgery, sidelining him for the best part of four months. 

Jesus has been heavily involved in some training sessions, but he will be assessed ahead of the clash against Fulham tomorrow,

“We will try not to rush him back, we will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he’s comfortable, as well as give the team a boost that they will need in the next few weeks.

“Everything is going well, he needs time to get himself that confident and physical state to compete with a free mind, and when he is free to do that, we will throw him in.”

With Eddie Nketiah suffering a knock on his ankle and Leandro Trossard having a groin injury (more on his anon), Gabriel Martinelli has been tasked with the burden of spearheading Arsenal’s attack and he was on the end of some good chances against Sporting CP on Thursday with the pick of the bunch, being that solo effort that was quelled by some last-ditch defending. Martinelli showed good hold up play and off the ball movement associated with a modern complete center forward, so I would expect Arteta to listen to the medical team and make the best decision regarding Jesus. 

One player whose injury came at the worst possible time was Trossard, who had nailed a spot as the center forward ahead of Nketiah, and played a pivotal role in Martinelli’s rise in form. Like Jorginho, Trossard joined the club in January, following the failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk, and showed his immense quality, playing a role in the match winner against Manchester United and opening his Arsenal goalscoring account against Brentford. The Belgian maverick scored a sumptuous scorcher against Leicester but VAR played a role in cancelling the effort. 

After just 22 minutes in the home clash against Bournemouth, Trossard signaled to the bench that he felt some discomfort and had to leave the pitch and head straight to the tunnel, and it’s never a good sight seeing a player go all the way, rather than hanging out with his buddies on the bench. The initial prognosis on Trossard’s groin injury is that its not as bad as everyone feared, but he will not be available for selection till after the international break at the very least. 

I’d preview the Fulham game tomorrow after getting more updates from Mikel Arteta’s presser. 


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Gabriel Jesus Returns and the Left Back Conundrum

Why Oleksandr Zinchenko was not offside for Arsenal winner despite Man Utd  complaints over VAR -

When Gabriel Jesus suffered that unfortunate knee injury in November and required surgery, everyone associated with Arsenal were legitimately concerned, but in Eddie Nketiah, the Gunners have found a dependable deputy that has done his bit to stake a claim for a first team berth. Prior to featuring consistently due to Gabriel Jesus’ injury layoff, Nketiah had scored two goals in the Europa League against Zurich and Bodo/Glimt as well as Arsenal’s solitary goal in the Carabao Cup home defeat to Brighton. After the World Cup, Nketiah has made eight starts and has scored seven goals, including a brace against Manchester United that helped the Gunners gain a foothold at the top of the table. 

Manchester United has been in a rich vein of form lately, with their star player, Marcus Rashford, having a mean scoring streak, so watching them drop points against Leeds United was quite satisfying, even though it was an enjoyable game for a neutral. 

After spending some valuable time with his family back home in Brazil, Gabriel Jesus has returned to London Colney to continue his rehabilitation from his lengthy injury layoff and news of his imminent arrival to the field of play brings butterflies to our collective tummies. It’s not like he was absolutely missed with Arsenal winning four of the six Premier League games he was absent for but Gabriel Jesus offers a whole lot to the team, just like Nketiah. The two games the Gunners dropped points in Gabriel Jesus’ absence were Newcastle (home) and Everton (away) – these are teams with dogged defenses that the Brazilian forward’s style of play would have come in handy. 

We were told from the onset that he was going to return around February / March, and I’m pretty sure Mikel Arteta will be working with the medical staff for up-to-the-minute information on his alpha male in attack, but we will keep tabs on that.

To more positive news, new signing, Oleksandr Zinchenko, has been named the January Player of the Month, by Arsenal fans for his superb performances in the month. Zinchenko began his January with 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle before making a substitute appearance for Kieran Tierney in the 3-0 win over Oxford United in the FA Cup. Zinchenko starred in the back-to-back Premier League victories over Tottenham and Manchester United, before replacing Tierney yet again in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester City. 

It’s evident that Zinchenko is an undoubted first teamer because of the sheer quality he offers the side, as well as the additional positions he takes on the field, giving the Gunners a tactical edge in attack as well as allowing the likes of Granit Xhaka to make further forays forward to support in the attacking third. However, Zinchenko’s presence on the pitch ultimately means that Tierney’s time on it is limited, as they are direct competitors for the left back slot.

Tierney joined the Gunners in 2019 and has always been a regular at the team, even though he always had his usual injury layoffs that sidelined him for months and months, leaving the club to use his deputies to hold the fort, or that failed experiment of Xhaka in the left back slot that saw us exposed in midfield. This season, he has been rather fortunate with injuries and had an extended run with first team football when Zinchenko struggled with some muscular issues, but the manager’s tactics ensures that when both men are fit in the Premier League, Zinchenko will be the one that gets the nod.

With Tierney falling down the pecking order despite being a player of immense quality, Arteta has tried to keep him happy by featuring him in the other tournaments Arsenal has competed this season, with Tierney playing and starting all six Europa League matches, scoring a goal against Zurich, as well as starts in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. However, he has started only three Premier League games, coming on as a substitute in 13 other games.

One would imagine that Tierney would not be content playing second fiddle to Zinchenko in the Premier League and with 18 months left on his contract, Arsenal might be at crossroads with him this summer, if the Scottish lad agitates for pastures anew. I’m very grateful with the quality has this season, and having Tierney and Zinchenko vying for the same spot in the team can only bode well for both players. 


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Thoughts on Saliba’s Contract Situation and Gabriel Jesus’ Injury Update

Don’t you just love that late goal that snatches a draw from the jaws of victory of a title rival!

When Bruno Fernandes smashed in that brilliant goal in the first half, I had thought that Manchester United was going to steamroll past Crystal Palace, as they had been in imperious form, but the Premier League has a knack for changing the narratives time and time again. Michael Olise’s free kick was a thing of beauty and Manchester United will arrive at the Emirates with dampened spirits after such a nerve-racking draw.

Arsenal will go into that match with their eternal arch-rivals on Sunday without their alpha male in attack, Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian forward earned a place in Tite’s World Cup squad in November but played second fiddle to Brazil’s main striker, Richarlison. However, he earned a shot to feature in the Mundial when the dead-rubber fixture against Cameroon was around the corner following victories over Serbia and Switzerland. Gabriel Jesus played that game and seemed okay, only for us to learn afterwards that he had suffered a knee injury that required surgery.

For a player so instrumental to how Arsenal plays its football, losing him was a bitter blow to our chances, but Eddie Nketiah has done well to step up in Jesus’ absence and lead the line for the Gunners. Yes, he’s a bit rough around the edges, but in the grand scale of things, Nketiah has done really well, and I hope his decent form in front of goal continues.

Gabriel Jesus has gone to social media to provide an update on his knee surgery rehabilitation, revealing that he’s no longer in need of crutches. This is a major breakthrough for the Brazilian forward and we will remain hopeful that he can be available for selection around February 2023 or March 2023 as currently predicted.

With only Eddie Nketiah deputizing for Gabriel Jesus in attack, Arsenal is desperately short and one can only hope they delve into the transfer market to get a solution, whether it’s short term or long term. However, we can only hope that our forwards will go through their games unscathed in our bid to win our first Premier League title in almost 20 years.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are doing their utmost best to sort out the future of William Saliba. After signing a four year deal with the Gunners, Saliba spent the first three seasons of his Arsenal career on loan in his native France, where he groomed himself to become a colossus in defense. He finally came of age after the Olympique Marseille loan spell and his emergence in the first team saw Ben White shunted to the right back slot to accommodate him in the side.

Alongside with Gabriel, Saliba has forged a formidable telepathic partnership, and Arsenal boasts of the second best defense behind Newcastle with 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets earned. At 21, Saliba has his best years ahead of him, and Arsenal are hoping to secure his future by initially triggering his extension clause to 2024, giving them ample time to work out a long term contract that will keep him at the Emirates for years to come.

Unfortunately, there has been a snag as Saliba’s representatives have rejected Arsenal’s proposed contract extension offer but the Gunners remain confident that they will negotiate and reach a common ground for the continuation of Saliba’s services to the club.

This has been a breakthrough season for Saliba, and he’s certainly no longer the player he was when he joined the club as the next best thing with huge potential, so it’s very understandable if he wants to earn a whole lot more than before. However, I’m pretty sure that Saliba’s reps and Arsenal will make something work.

They have all the time in the world.


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