Mikel Arteta is thinking of starting 'special' Arsenal player for first time in 2023 tonight
Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta is thinking of starting 'special' Arsenal player for first time in 2023 tonight

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is thinking of giving Gabriel Jesus his first start of 2023 tonight when his side takes on Sporting Lisbon.

The Gunners were held to a 2-2 draw in the Portuguese capital last week. William Saliba opened the scoring, but sloppy defending gave Sporting a chance to go 2-1 up. An own goal by Hidemasa Morita levelled the tie in the end, and it’s all to play for tonight.

Arsenal will reportedly go with a strong team and Jesus, who hasn’t started a game for the Gunners since November, is said to be in contention to start.

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Mikel Arteta is thinking of starting Gabriel Jesus in Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon

Jesus joined Arsenal from Manchester City last summer and quickly became a star.

The Brazilian hit the ground running in the Premier League, and his attitude and work rate gave everyone around him a huge lift. That is one of the reasons why Arsenal surprised everyone and became title contenders.

However, in the first week of December, while representing Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar, Jesus suffered a serious knee injury and required surgery. He missed over three months of action as a result and only came back last Sunday.

Now, Jesus, who was branded as a ‘very special player‘ by Fabio Vieira yesterday, could start for the first time this year.

The Evening Standard report that the 25-year-old is pushing for a start against Sporting Lisbon tonight.

Arsenal’s medical team, however, believe he’s still not ready to play a full game, but Arteta is apparently thinking about giving him a go for 60 minutes before taking him off.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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When Arsenal faced Sporting Lisbon in the first leg last week, they had no natural striker available.

Gabriel Jesus was still not back, while Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard both missed the game with an injury. Arteta was forced to go with Gabriel Martinelli up top, and he did a good job in the end.

Now, with Jesus and Trossard both available, Arteta has a decision to make. Both players impressed against Fulham – the Belgian much more than Jesus, and he arguably deserves to keep his place in the side.

However, if Jesus is ready, we won’t be surprised to see Arteta go with the Brazilian up front tonight.

Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

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