Mikel Arteta says Gabriel Jesus is ready to feature against Fulham on Saturday having trained with the Arsenal first team this week.
It was revealed yesterday that the Brazil international was back on the pitch following a minor knee procedure at the start of the month but it was widely assumed he is still short of fitness and would more likely target a return against Manchester United on 3 September.
That appears not to be the case.
Asked about Jesus, Arteta told his pre-game press conference: “He’s really happy. It was a big blow for him, after the pre-season that he had, to have another surgery, but he’s looking really sharp. He trained the full week really good, so he’s ready to go.”
Pressed on whether he’ll be in the squad tomorrow, the boss reiterated, “He’s ready to go.”
The Spaniard also confirmed that there are no new injuries to worry about meaning Jurrien Timber and Mo Elneny are the only players unable to feature this weekend.
Arteta is fully expecting Fulham to make life difficult for his side, even if they’ll be without last season’s top scorer Aleksandr Mitrovic following the Serbian’s move to Saudi Arabia.
“What Marco and the coaching staff have done there is remarkable,” said Arteta.
“The way they played last season and where they qualified in the Premier League and especially the way they did it, it was incredible. He’s a coach I’ve always admired, he’s really well organised, they have really clear ideas of what they want to do, you can see his team plays exactly in the way that he wants and tomorrow we’re going to have a tough match.”
“The majority of the group has been there for a while and they’ve been doing very well with that core group. It’s true that Mitrovic gives them a different dimension but [new signing Raul] Jimenez as well is a very proven goal-scoring this league and he did extremely well at Wolves and they have the resources, they have the capacity to help you and tomorrow again we will see that for sure.”
“It’s a team that creates a lot of challenges and difficulties,” he added. “It happened last year. When we played there and at home, we had tough moments. The way we won at home was in the last minute and away we were really good in the first half but not so good in the second half. So tomorrow I’m expecting something very similar.”