Arsenal are gearing up for their interesting UEFA Europa League showdown with Sporting CP, with the Premier League leaders visiting the Portuguese giants this Thursday for the 1st leg of their round of 16 matchup.
And a day before the Gunners step out at the Estádio José Alvalade, fans were treated to one huge boost. Gabriel Jesus, the marquee summer signing, has finally returned to full training after a three-month layoff.
The Brazilian striker, who suffered a serious knee injury at the FIFA World Cup that required surgery, had been nearing a return for some time. However, only now has the 25-year-old taken part in full-contact training with his other teammates.
Gabriel Jesus getting fully stuck in during his first full training session for almost four months pic.twitter.com/96564qg52a— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 8, 2023
The former Manchester City ace was seen with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Thomas Partey in the pre-match drills and was understandably in a happy mood. Jesus last played for the North London giants in the 2-0 victory at Wolves on November 12 and is thus keen on returning to the pitch and aiding his side in their Premier League title race.
The striker will make Thursday's trip but it remains uncertain whether he will be included in the matchday squad or not. It's hard to see Arteta throwing him back onto the pitch immediately but his mere return is a major boost for the Gunners.
However, there were some concerning updates ahead of this tie. Eddie Nketiah, who has been out with an ankle injury, and Leandro Trossard, who picked up a groin issue in the 3-2 win over Bournemouth, were absent from training.
Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, was present at Colney but was spotted leaving early. The Scottish left-back, who appeared destined to get minutes against Sporting CP, will not make the flight to Portugal. While his issue is simply down to illness, Arteta will be forced to risk one of Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko — or both — on Thursday.
No Tierney in the squad for Lisbon - He's unwell.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) March 8, 2023