Football expert Paul Merson explains why Gabriel Jesus' injury return is a boon and a bane for Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus made his much-awaited return from injury when he came on as a substitute in Arsenal’s 3-0 league win against Fulham on 12 March.

The Brazil international was sidelined since December after picking up a serious knee injury at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Jesus even had a chance to score late in the game but his tame shot was saved by Bernd Leno in the 85th minute.

After the game, manager Mikel Arteta insisted that Jesus, like any other player at Arsenal, would have to earn his spot in the starting XI. Before the FIFA World Cup, he started in all 14 Premier League games, registering five goals and six assists.

Speaking after the Gunners’ win at Craven Cottage, Arsenal legend Paul Merson opined that Jesus would want regular playing time. However, he added that it is also like a brand new signing for his team up front. Merson said on Sky Sports (h/t Daily Mail):

Gabriel Jesus played 13 minutes in the Gunners' win vs Fulham.
Gabriel Jesus played 13 minutes in the Gunners’ win vs Fulham.

“Gabriel Jesus coming back is a bit of a problem for Arsenal because the lad will want to play – he didn’t sign to be a bit-part player like he was at Man City. It will cause problems in time but at the moment it’s like another signing.”

Jesus signed for the north London giants last summer from Manchester City for a fee of £45 million. It became evident that manager Pep Guardiola signed Erling Haaland in the summer to make him City’s first-choice centre-forward.

Arteta could have a selection dilemma on his hands. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are two of his most trusted players down the flanks, with Leandro Trossard also making waves in recent weeks.

He assisted all three of his team’s goals against the Cottagers. It remains to be seen if he will continue to be preferred in the starting XI despite Jesus’ return.

Merson says Arsenal star is good enough to play for Manchester City

Leandro Trossard arrived at the Emirates in January from Brighton & Hove Albion for a fee of £27 million – a figure that surprised Paul Merson.

Leandro Trossard has 28 caps for Belgium.
Leandro Trossard has 28 caps for Belgium.

He has scored once and provided five assists in 10 games across competitions for his new team. Speaking after Trossard’s hat-trick of assists against Fulham, the former England international opined, via the aforementioned source:

“Leandro Trossard could play for Man City. It’s an unbelievable signing for £27m. When his agent said to him he was going to Arsenal for that fee he must have thought, “Is that all I’m worth?!”

Gabriel Jesus could, hence, find it hard to displace the Belgian forward straightaway given the latter’s form.

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