Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hints Gabriel Jesus won’t start Everton ‘battle’

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Mikel Arteta has insisted that Gabriel Jesus ‘changed our world’ when he arrived at Arsenal last summer – but has hinted he may be benched again at Everton because the north Londoners must “build him up” post-injury. The Brazilian is now fully fit again after recovering from knee surgery that saw him miss the start to this season.

But Jesus has seen new England prospect Eddie Nketiah stamp his claim for a place in the Gunners’ attack in his absence. Jesus though scored after coming off the bench against Manchester United in Arsenal’s last game before the international break.

He also featured off the bench in both of Brazil’s matches against Bolivia and Peru. With the Gunners’ opening their Champions League campaign on Wednesday against PSV Eindhoven, Arteta could be tempted to shuffle his pack in attack at Everton tomorrow (Sunday).

Arsenal travel to a ground, Goodison Park, where they have lost on their last three visits and are winless since 2017. Arteta said: “Gabriel changed our world last season. He is a tremendous player, really important for us. 

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“He brought a different energy, different belief, different threat, a different fear for opponents. And he did it in a really natural way. He contributed hugely to the step we made last season. 

“The last six or seven months for Gabi, with the long-term injury he had and the amount of football that he missed, he came back in pre-season and he started to get his rhythm again – and then he had another injury. So we have to build him up.”

Arteta said he loved the ‘chaos’ that Jesus brought to Arsenal’s football after he joined in his £45million move from Manchester City  – but injuries limited the Brazilian to just 24 starts last term, and 11 goals: “In certain areas of the pitch, I love the chaos. In other areas, I hate it!

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“It’s where you produce that chaos. Gabriel draws a lot of attention from opponents with the way he plays and creates space for others. That’s a big quality of his. When you sign a player that you know, who has done it in the league and has the hunger and right reasons to join us, it was a no-brainer. 

“You could see the impact he had on the team straight away.” Despite Arsenal’s poor recent record at Goodison Park, Arteta insists that his side will be ready for the physical onslaught they are likely to face. He said: “In the last six years we haven’t won there – so we’re going to have to earn it. 

“Sometimes you cannot avoid a battle. They have a certain style that they are extremely good at.  But Everton’s quality is not physicality. Just talking about physicality doesn’t reflect the quality they have, how they build sequences and momentum. It is deeper than that.”

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