Gabriel Jesus believes he can finally win the Champions League and has told his Arsenal team-mates to share the faith.

The Brazil forward has a love affair with Europe’s premiere club competition and was the difference-maker as Arsenal won 2-1 at Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Jesus provided a moment of magic to lay on the opening goal for compatriot Gabriel Martinelli before curling home a fine individual effort – although his celebrations were curtailed as he limped off with 10 minutes to go.

The former Manchester City striker, who came off the bench when Pep Guardiola’s side lost the 2021 Champions League final to Chelsea, has a phenomenal strike-rate in the competition – his goal at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium was his 23rd in 41 appearances for City and Arsenal.

He still harbours ambitions of winning the trophy and feels it is something he and his colleagues can achieve this season.

“It’s a competition that I love,” he said after his man-of-the-match display.

“All the competitions I love, because I just love to play football. But I don’t know, since day one in the Champions League, my debut, I scored goals.

“I haven’t won it yet, so I am looking for this, for this beautiful trophy. Obviously it is not easy, but I think we have to believe. If we don’t believe, we cannot be here.”

While his goal was a moment to savour, Jesus’ role in Martinelli’s opening effort will live long in the memory as a deft touch took two Sevilla midfielders out of the game.

A perfectly-weighted slide-rule pass played in Martinelli who, having missed a golden chance to break the deadlock earlier in the game, obliged with a cool finish as the two Brazil internationals combined to great effect.

“I think for me as the type of player I am, I drop a lot more on the left side than the right side,” Jesus replied when asked about his relationship and understanding playing alongside Martinelli.

“Obviously I drop on the right as well to help B (Bukayo Saka) and to play with B, but I drop more on the left. It works.

“The wingers we have, not just Martinelli and B, but Reiss (Nelson), Leo (Trossard) and even Eddie (Nketiah) or Fabio (Vieira) when they play there, they are quality players.

“I just go out wide and I try to play short passes and give them the ball, and they try to find me as well. It worked with Martinelli and I am very happy.”

Mikel Arteta’s side return to domestic action when they welcome Premier League bottom club Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners are unbeaten in their opening nine league games of the campaign and Jesus could yet be involved despite limping off late on in Spain.

“I felt something. Let’s see,” he said. “I did some tests with the physio, it looks not that big, but let’s see. I have a scan, maybe tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will be nothing.”

Mikel Arteta has praised Gabriel Jesus for bringing “belief” and “energy” to Arsenal as the forward shone in victory at Sevilla.

Jesus continued his love affair with the Champions League with a fine goal and assist double as the Gunners won 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

A piece of magic set up compatriot Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Jesus doubled the lead with a fine, curling finish of his own – although he later limped off having moments earlier held his hamstring.

The Brazil forward may not boast the most prolific strike record but he has now scored an impressive 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition.

Asked if Jesus had been signed from Manchester City because of his prowess in the competition, Arteta replied: “For sure. He has been through a lot in the last few years and he’s still really young.

“He has enormous experiences – some of them not the nicest but very necessary to be the player that he is today. I’m really happy to have him in the team.

“He came here for a reason. I think he changed our world. He brought so much belief and energy to that team, he needs to step in in those moments. He’s done that. That’s when a player becomes accountable for the team.

“Big games are for big players. He needed to produce those moments to win in a stadium like this. He’s done it for us in a really big way. Then, really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that.

“We need those players to win games. If you want to play Manchester City, then go to Stamford Bridge, then come here – that’s the level we’re at right now. To come here and win, big credit to the boys.”

Jesus’ night ended as he hobbled off to be replaced by Eddie Nketiah in the latter stages – with Arteta admitting he is concerned for the striker.

“(I am) really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that,” he added.

“He straight away asked to be subbed which is not good news because Gabriel is not a player who does that at all. We will have to wait and see in the next few days.”

The victory saw Arsenal recover from defeat in Lens last time out and was enough to take them to the top of Group B at the halfway stage.

Arteta’s side will be in a good position to reach the knockout stages if they beat Sevilla in the return game at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight and the Spaniard was pleased with the reaction to defeat in France.

“That result against Lens put us in a difficult position and the team had to react,” he said.

“We are coming from the back of very difficult games where the team has to step in and go against adversity as well with some of the injuries that we picked up to big players.

“The team is so willing to at least try their best even if we don’t manage to be our best all the time.”

Gabriel Jesus continued his love affair with the Champions League with a fine goal and assist as he led Arsenal to victory over Sevilla.

The Brazil forward may not boast the most prolific strike record but he has now scored an impressive 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition and he was the difference here as the Gunners won 2-1.

A piece of magic from Jesus set up compatriot Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time before he doubled the lead with a fine, curling finish of his own – although he later limped off having moments earlier held his hamstring.

A thunderous Nemanja Gudelj header reduced the arrears on the hour but Mikel Arteta’s side saw out the closing stages to secure victory, moving top of Group B in the process.

Martinelli should have put Arsenal ahead inside eight minutes after being played through on goal by Jesus, only to shoot straight at the advancing Orjan Nyland.

Moments later Lucas Ocampos stabbed an effort just wide at the other end as both sides looked to strike early in an atmospheric Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

David Raya’s inclusion in the Arsenal goal at the continued expense of Aaron Ramsdale was again a talking point before the game and the Spaniard gifted possession to Sevilla at the midway point of the first half but the home side failed to take advantage.

Neither team created anything else of note until stoppage time when, firstly, Sevilla easily cut through the Arsenal defence but Youssef En-Nesyri failed to hit the target as he dragged a shot wide.

Arsenal then took the lead, having escaped another Sevilla attack they broke at pace and a fine touch and perfectly-weighted pass from Jesus set Martinelli in behind. This time the Brazilian made no mistake, calmly rounding Nyland before rolling the ball into an empty net.

The Gunners should have doubled their lead soon after the restart but captain Martin Odegaard blazed over when well-placed inside the box.

Jesus, though, was in confident mood and extended the advantage with a fine solo goal, moving in off the left to curl a finish past Nyland.

Sevilla responded well and got themselves back into the contest when Gudelj powered a header past Raya from Ivan Rakitic’s corner.

The Europa League holders came within inches of equalising soon after, as substitute Mariano Diaz’s strike was tipped onto the crossbar by Raya.

Jesus did not have chance to savour a memorable performance as he gingerly hobbled off to be replaced by Eddie Nketiah with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Arsenal, though, were able to navigate through the difficult closing stages, surviving a late onslaught to secure victory ahead of the return game at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight’s time, where another three points will leave Arteta’s side sitting pretty.

Gabriel Jesus is ready to teach Arsenal’s Champions League newcomers all about a competition he used to skip school to watch as a boy.

The Gunners return to Europe’s elite club competition after a six-year absence, having finished second in the Premier League last season.

A number of Mikel Arteta’s players have yet to taste Champions League football, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice and William Saliba set to make their debuts in the tournament against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

Jesus, meanwhile, scored 14 goals in 22 Champions League appearances for Manchester City and came off the bench as his former club lost the 2021 final to Chelsea.

“I remember the times I watch at home, the times I missed school to watch and my mum got crazy,” the Brazil forward said of why he holds the competition in such high regard.

“It starts from there. It was different to hear the music, to see the best clubs. All the leagues, the best clubs go. I think this helps a lot, then it is a different game, a different competition.

“If I talk, I get in trouble! As a kid, you do things you don’t control. Like I said to the kids: don’t do it, go to school.

“When I was a kid, 14, 15 years old, and I tried to go to the clubs to do tests to stay in the club, I always chose school.”

Having gone from playing truant to watch the Champions League to starring in it, Jesus will be key to any hopes Arsenal have of going deep into the tournament.

The 26-year-old, who has recovered from a second knee surgery in the past eight months, revealed his team-mates are already getting excited ahead of the visit of PSV and has backed them to shine.

“Yesterday, some of them were joking in the gym, putting the (Champions League music on),” he added.

“I’m sure everyone is happy, not just the players, the club, the fans, it goes a long way without playing in this competition, now Arsenal are back.

“A club like Arsenal cannot stay without playing that competition so everyone at the club is very happy.

“Everyone here is already experienced to know how to control emotions and these kind of things. Some of them, it is the first time they play in the Champions League.”

Arteta will also be taking charge of a team in the competition for the first time and believes Arsenal are back where they belong.

“Proud and excited I would say,” he said of his feelings on the eve of the opening Group B encounter.

“It’s been a long time for the club since we’ve been in the competition and obviously the first time for me as a manager as well.

“We’ve been chasing it and fighting for it and now we’ve got it. Now we have to make the most out of it and it starts at home.

“Every time that I watched it and we weren’t there I felt it. This club has to be in the Champions League and when I have the job that I have, the responsibility is to try and bring the club to the biggest stages, the biggest tournaments and then be fighting for them.”

Mikel Arteta lauded “tremendous” Gabriel Jesus who he claims “changed Arsenal’s world last season”.

Gunners boss Arteta could start the Brazil striker for the first time this term at Everton on Sunday after he recovered from a spate of injuries.

Jesus has made two substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring last time out in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United on September 3.

But Arteta insists the former Manchester City forward’s game is about more than goals.

“He is a tremendous player,” said Arteta, whose side finished runners-up in the Premier League in 2022-23.

“A really important player for us. He changed our world last season. You could all see that. He is going to be a really important player for us.

“I think he brought a different energy, a different belief, a different threat, a different fear to opponents.

“And he did it in a really natural way and I think he contributed hugely to the step that we had last season.

“He tracks a lot of attention and players in the way he plays and creates space for others and that’s a big quality.

“When you sign a player you know, who has done it in the league and he’s got the hunger to join us for the right reasons – it was a no-brainer for us to do it and we could see the impact he had straight away in the team.”

Arsenal’s last win at Goodison Park came in 2017 and they have scored just twice in their last five visits.

Former Everton player Arteta talked up Sean Dyche’s side and identified the levels his players need to be at if they are to take all three points.

“For me Everton’s quality is not physicality, it’s what they do and they play really well and Sean (Dyche) does well at doing that,” Arteta added.

“Just talking about physicality doesn’t reflect the qualities they have, the reasons they do it, the intentions they have, how they build sequences and momentum in matches. There’s a lot of work there so it is much deeper than that in my opinion.

“They know (Arsenal players on how hard Everton away is). Obviously we have experienced it so there’s a level of focus and attention you need when you play against a team like that.”

Arteta praised Eddie Nketiah after he featured in Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier this month, despite the striker not playing a single minute during victories against Ukraine and Scotland.

He said: “I think it’s a big point to be named in the England national team, it’s a big point.

“I was really happy and proud of him and it’s the coaching staff’s decision (on who starts) and he’s going to have to earn the right to play, that shows you the level there is there.”

Eddie Nketiah is relishing the prospect of starting the new season as Arsenal’s main striker and insists manager Mikel Arteta knows he can deliver the goods.

England’s record goalscorer at under-21 level is likely to lead the line for the Gunners when the campaign gets under way after fellow forward Gabriel Jesus was ruled out.

Jesus recently underwent a minor operation on a knee issue he has had since picking up an injury while with Brazil at the 2022 World Cup.

The initial surgery sidelined him for three months but Nketiah stepped up in his absence and hit six goals in six games when domestic football returned.

His goals helped keep Arsenal at the top of the Premier League until Jesus’ return and he is ready to repeat the feat.

“I don’t think I’m here to fill in for anyone. I’m here to play and contribute to the team,” he said after captaining Arsenal and scoring in a 1-1 Emirates Cup draw with Monaco on Wednesday night.

“Obviously, I believe in my abilities and I know I can contribute. The manager has got a tough decision and whenever he calls me, he knows I can deliver and I can help the team, so it’s just about us all collectively playing our part to to achieve our goals.

“I just really enjoyed it and was able to improve myself, test myself, I played some really big games and I was able to help.

“So that’s what it is about, obviously playing at the highest level, competing for trophies and that’s what I want to do.

“I pride myself on always being ready and whatever role the manager needs me – I will always make sure I do my best and to the best of my ability so I can help the team – that’s what it’s all about.”

Despite hitting a purple patch when he first came into the team after the World Cup, Nketiah has not scored a competitive goal since his last-gasp winner against Manchester United on January 22, a run of 14 games and nearly 10 hours without finding the back of the net.

The 24-year-old, however, is ready for the pressure of starting the season as the man up top for Arteta’s side.

Asked if he was relishing the challenge amid added expectation on the whole team, Nketiah replied: “Yes, of course. It’s what we play football for.

“We train hard every day to get the opportunity to play at the weekend. So not just myself, there’s many players that can obviously play in that position.

“So we’re all ready, we’re all good players, we’re all able to contribute at different points in the season, everyone’s going to have different roles. So it’s just about being ready and contribute and hopefully I can do that throughout the season.”

Arsenal’s Premier League title tilt gets under way at home to Nottingham Forest next weekend but, before then, Nketiah is aiming for Community Shield success against last season’s treble winners Manchester City.

“We want do well, we want to go out there and win the trophy, that’s what it’s about,” he added.

“So we will be working hard throughout the week and we’ve had a good game against Monaco, so hopefully that can put us in good stead, make sure we compete and hopefully we can get a trophy on Sunday.”

Gabriel Jesus will miss the start of the Premier League campaign after Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed the forward has undergone a minor operation.

The Brazil international missed three months of last season after suffering a knee injury at the World Cup.

Jesus impressed following his move from Manchester City last summer but now faces a short spell on the sidelines after going under the knife after “irritation” with the original knee issue.

“Unfortunately, he had a little procedure this morning,” Arteta said after Arsenal’s penalty shoot-out win over Monaco in the Emirates Cup.

“He had some discomfort in his knee that has been causing some issues and they had to go in and resolve it. It is not something major but he looks to be out for a few weeks I think.

“It is a big blow because we had him back to his best, especially the way he played against Barcelona, and he was in good condition and we lost him.

“But he has been feeling some discomfort in the last few weeks and we had to look at it, we had to make a decision and the best one is to protect the player and get him back as quick as possible so we decided to do it.

“It is something related to the previous injury that he had and the surgery. He had some irritation in the knee and we had to get it resolved.”

Gabriel Jesus says Arsenal must raise their levels to remain on top of their Premier League title charge after dropping points for the second game in a row.

The Gunners blew a 2-0 lead against West Ham on Sunday, slipping to a 2-2 draw that has seen their gap at the summit shrink to just four points - the second game in a row a two-goal advantage was let slip.

Jesus and Martin Odegaard had put the visitors in cruise control at London Stadium inside 10 minutes, before Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen clawed back equilibrium.

With Manchester City, who have a game in hand, hot on their heels, Jesus has called upon his team-mates to ensure their standards do not slip again this term.

"Once again, the three points were in our hands," he told the club's website. "Obviously, the game is 90 minutes. It's not 20, [or] in this case 30 minutes.

"As a team, we have to raise the level and come back to our principles. We know our strength, we know what we can do.

"Where we want to attack the opponent, in the first 10 to 20 minutes we did so good. After that we dropped our level and that obviously cannot happen if you want to fight for the title.

"As a team, it's no time to blame [ourselves]. We have to raise the level again, come back to our principles and win the games. That's the only way we can fight for the title again."

Arsenal face City a week on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium, in what is shaping up to be the pivotal encounter in their title fight.

Before then though, they will hope to return to winning ways against rock-bottom Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.

Roberto Firmino's late header stunned Arsenal as Liverpool stormed back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield.

Goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus put the Gunners in command, but Mohamed Salah reduced the deficit late in the first half.

Salah missed a penalty early in the second half, but Firmino came off the bench to rock Arsenal with an equaliser in the 87th minute of a thriller on Merseyside.

Aaron Ramsdale then produced two brilliant saves in injury time as the Gunners held on for a draw that leaves them six points clear of defending champions Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

Following the two-week international break and then a double gameweek, the Premier League fixture schedule returns to normal this weekend with 10 fixtures across two days.

That is not to say there are not still some huge selection decisions to make when it comes to picking your fantasy side in what is now very much the business end of the campaign.

Some players are quite simply undroppable at this stage, while others look good value for those willing to take a gamble and make up some points.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform has picked out four players – one for each position – that look good value to help your side this weekend.

Emi Martinez (Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest)

Villa conceded against Leicester City last time out, but they have kept six Premier League clean sheets in 2023, with that tally bettered only by – surprisingly – Liverpool (seven).

Martinez has been in goal for five of those games, the Argentina international bringing the form he showed at the World Cup with him back to Villa Park.

He has made 38 saves this calendar year and has prevented 2.02 goals – only three goalkeepers have fared better – and is up against a low-scoring Forest side this weekend.

Timothy Castagne (Leicester City v Bournemouth)

Leicester are enduring a poor campaign and have struggled badly to keep clean sheets, doing so just six times all season in the Premier League.

Right-back Castagne has masked defensive inadequacies with some solid attacking play, however, with only three other defenders being involved in more goals this term (four).

In fact, of the defenders to have created at least 15 chances, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (33 per cent) has a higher proportion that are big chances than Castagne (31 per cent).

Kaoru Mitoma (Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion)

Brighton attacker Mitoma is not quite the unknown figure he was a few months back, with more and more flocking to put him in their team as the weeks go by.

The Japan international is the first Brighton player to register a goal involvement in five successive Premier League games, with that the longest ongoing run in the competition.

All 11 of his goal involvements this season have come since his first start on October 29 – only four midfielders have been involved in more during that period.


Gabriel Jesus (Liverpool v Arsenal)

Having slowly built up his fitness since returning from a three-month lay-off, Jesus marked his first start in the win over Leeds United with two goals.

The Brazil international, whose most recent start at club level prior to that was against Wolves in November, now has seven goals and five assists in 17 league games this term.

Jesus tends to perform well against next opponents Liverpool, too, as only against three other sides has he been directly involved in more goals than he has versus the Reds (six).

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's focus as the Premier League leaders restored their eight-point advantage with victory over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners' lead at the summit was reduced to five points following Manchester City's 4-1 win over Liverpool earlier on Saturday, but Arteta's side matched that result against Leeds to pull clear once more.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice while Ben White and Granit Xhaka were also target for the hosts, who were without Bukayo Saka from the start for the first time in the Premier League this season.

Arteta, who revealed the England forward was benched having suffered with illness on Friday, was delighted with the way his players remained concentrated on the task in hand.

"We had a few things going on with some individuals. It has been a concerning few days because we could not decide until this morning if some players would be available and the line-up," he told BBC.

"After an international break, you do not know if they are in the frame of mind to come back and do the things necessary to win this league. I am really happy with the performance.

"We were aware [of Man City's result] as it is a huge game, and we wanted to watch parts of it. But when we got here, it was just to focus on us and what we can do as a team. They are used to it. We can only control what we can do."

The Gunners boss also praised Jesus, who netted a brace on his first start since returning from injury.

"I am so happy for him after all the work from him and the staff throughout the last five months," Arteta said. "Today, he got rewarded for that. He brings that quality and unpredictability to the squad."

"Everyone is playing so well, it is easy to come back," Jesus added. "The most important thing is that everyone that has come in has played good.

"I want to score every game, but sometimes it can't happen. I am more happy with the three points than the goals. 

"We said before the game not to look at goal difference and focus on the points. But sometimes, you have to try and score more and more, as it might matter at the end of the season."

White also paid tribute to Arsenal for not getting distracted by the Man City scoreline from earlier in the day.

"There's a lot of noise going on outside," the defender told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I don't really know what's right or wrong, I have never been in this position [competing in a title race] before. So, we are just keeping quiet, heads down and working hard."

William Saliba has been ruled out of Arsenal's Premier League meeting with Leeds United with a back injury, but Mikel Arteta is hopeful of having Thomas Partey available.

France international Saliba limped off during Arsenal's Europa League clash with Sporting CP on March 16 and sat out the 4-1 league win over Crystal Palace three days later.

The 22-year-old, who has started 32 of Arsenal's 39 games this season, subsequently pulled out of France's squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers during the international break.

Arteta had been hopeful Saliba would be available in time for the Gunners' return to action on Saturday, but the centre-back is still not ready.

"He is progressing but still has some discomfort in his back," Arteta said at Friday's pre-match press conference. "He's not going to be fit for this game. 

"We're doing everything to get him back feeling better, but he is not ready yet."

There have been suggestions Arsenal could be without Saliba for the majority of their remaining 10 league games, but Arteta does not see that being the case.

"We're very hopeful [he will return soon] and he is as well," Arteta said. "Back injuries are tricky in terms of how they evolve with the load that you put in certain areas. 

"Let’s push it and see how he copes with that. He's so willing to be back in the team. We're very positive and pushing it every day, seeing how the pain develops."

Takehiro Tomiyasu also limped off in the Sporting match, which saw Arsenal eliminated from the Europa League, and has since been ruled out for the campaign.

Arsenal had another injury scare in the week, meanwhile, as influential midfielder Partey did not play in Ghana's 1-1 draw with Angola for precautionary reasons.

But the 29-year-old is likely to feature against 14th-place Leeds at Emirates Stadium as Arsenal look to maintain – or indeed extend – their eight-point lead at the summit.

"We're positive about him. Hopefully he'll be back," Arteta said.

Arteta confirmed he otherwise has a fully-fit squad to choose from, with striker Gabriel Jesus now nearing full fitness after recently returning from a long-term lay-off.

"He's close to 100 per cent," Arteta said. "He's taken a big step forward in recent days, creating chaos in training. He's in a really good place."

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with Leeds in all competitions, winning 11 of those, since a 3-2 loss in May 2003 that ended the Gunners' title bid that season.

The Gunners have won six league games in a row ahead of hosting Leeds to keep Manchester City, who they still have to face away from home, at arm's length.

Gabriel Jesus was named in Arsenal's starting XI for their Europa League clash with Sporting CP.

Jesus returned from injury as a second-half substitute in Arsenal's 3-0 win over Fulham on Sunday, a victory that moved them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The former Manchester City forward had not featured since sustaining a knee injury while on duty with Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar last year.

Jesus' last goal came at the start of October, in a 3-1 defeat of Arsenal's north London rivals Tottenham.

With the last-16 tie against Sporting level at 2-2 after the first leg in Lisbon, Mikel Arteta selected Jesus to lead Arsenal's line at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

Reiss Nelson kept his starting place from the first leg, with Gabriel Martinelli completing the front three as Bukayo Saka dropped to the bench.

Matt Turner, Ben White and Jakub Kiwior started in Lisbon, but Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Magalhaes came into the defence for the rematch, with Jorginho, Fabio Vieira and Granit Xhaka keeping their places in midfield.

William Saliba put Arsenal ahead on March 9 before Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho turned matters around, but Hidemasa Morita's own goal ensured the second leg would start on level terms.

Leandro Trossard, Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey were the first-team regulars named alongside Saka on the bench, with Arteta juggling progress in Europe with the Gunners' title charge – they face Crystal Palace at home on Sunday.

Gabriel Jesus has given Mikel Arteta "a great problem" after the Arsenal forward returned from injury with a cameo appearance in Sunday's 3-0 victory at Fulham.

Manager Arteta saw Jesus impress in the opening months of the season as the Gunners began their title challenge, but they have learned to cope without him since the former Manchester City man suffered a knee injury on Brazil duty at the World Cup.

There is still no mistaking Jesus has a role to play in the Premier League run-in, but Arteta, while delighted to have the £45million man back, said the 25-year-old "needs to earn his place".

Arteta brought on Jesus as a 77th-minute substitute at Craven Cottage, in place of Leandro Trossard, whose three first-half assists paved the way for the London derby victory.

"We didn't know whether it was the right game for him today," Arteta said. "A few days ago, he told me he was missing something, and then yesterday he looked me in the eyes and told me he was ready.

"Today we had the opportunity to throw him in because it's that first step to give him the boost. He looked free and generated two big chances straight away, and it's great to have him back.

"Now he needs to earn his place like anyone else in the team. We have alternatives that can play in different positions, and we have different roles to fill in relation to the chemistry of the players and what we ask them to do. It's a great problem to have, believe me.

"I was so happy. He put a lot in the last few months, and all the staff spent so many hours together to try to fulfil all his needs. He wanted more and more and more, and he was very willing to get back. Just to see him there with a smile on his face was just a joy."

Jesus shared that emotion, writing on Twitter that he was "so happy to be back".

Arteta praised his team's "love for defending" after the clean sheet and called it an "outstanding performance", with Arsenal reasserting their five-point advantage over Manchester City, with 11 rounds of games remaining.

Trossard, a January recruit from Brighton and Hove Albion, set up the goals for Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Arteta commended the Belgian winger, saying: "When we talk about composure and finding the right pass, and looking to the right player in the box, it's very blurry and some other players make rash decisions, and he created three goals.

"He could have scored two – I think he was really impressive. His contribution was superb."

Victory took Arteta to 100 wins as manager of Arsenal, and the former club captain said: "Hopefully there will be many more."

Martin Odegaard declared Gabriel Jesus' long-awaited return from injury was "a massive boost" for Arsenal following their 3-0 win over Fulham.

The Premier League leaders took a step closer to the title, regaining their five-point lead at the top thanks to first-half goals from Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and Odegaard at Craven Cottage.

Mikel Arteta also welcomed Jesus back for his first Arsenal appearance since the win at Wolves in November, the Brazil international appearing as a late substitute for the impressive Leandro Trossard, who chalked up three assists.

Captain Odegaard was delighted to see his team-mate back in action, but insists the Gunners are not getting carried away despite moving within 10 wins of Premier League glory.

"It's a massive boost," he told Sky Sports about Jesus' return. "He's been out for a while now.

"We know what he’ll give to the team and we are excited to have him back."

Odegaard added: "We did really well from the start. We controlled the game and scored some good goals in the first half. The second half was a bit different, but very good.

"[We have the] same focus. We've said all season we’ll take it game by game. We'll do the same things, keep working hard and see where it takes us."

Odegaard also praised the performance of January arrival Trossard, after the former Brighton and Hove Albion man became the first player in Premier League history to register a hat-trick of first-half assists away from home.

"He has brought some amazing things to the team," Odegaard said. 

"I love playing with him. He's good to find the right pass and we're really happy to have him on the team."

Trossard himself could find few faults with the performance.

He said: "When we win, we're always happy. We knew it would be a tough game. We did really well and kept a clean sheet as well.

"[It was] a perfect win for us. I'm really happy with it [the hat-trick of assists], I always try to contribute and today it went my way. I'm just really happy we won, now there are 11 finals to go for us."

Arsenal became the first side in the history of English league football to win five successive away London derbies without conceding a single goal, while Arteta chalked up his 100th win in charge of the Gunners.

"I'm really happy to win and get three points away from home, especially with a clean sheet," the Spaniard said. 

"It's great to see the goals distributed through the team. Leandro laid on three assists and could also have scored too.

"Every time we put the ball in the net, it's great. We practice lots of things and we scored beautiful goals."

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