Gabriel Jesus, who has been sidelined due to a knee operation, made his comeback for Arsenal, offering renewed hope to fans.
The Brazilian’s return came in the closing moments as Arsenal faced Fulham in a high-stakes Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium. However, the decision to start Jesus on the bench raises tactical questions.
Nevertheless, a resilient Fulham side, despite being down to ten men, secured a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Gunners.
Anticipated Return, Tactical Shifts Emerge
Gabriel Jesus’s return has been highly anticipated by Arsenal supporters. Mikel Arteta expressed his happiness before the match, stating,
“He’s looking really sharp. He trained the full week good. He’s ready to go.”
Jesus’s return to the Arsenal squad adds depth and optimism to the team’s prospects.
Despite Gabriel Jesus’s return, Eddie Nketiah, who impressed in Arsenal’s previous win against Crystal Palace, found himself replaced by Leandro Trossard in the starting lineup. Arteta’s tactical decision raised eyebrows, given Nketiah’s recent form. However, Arteta opted for Trossard to lead the attack in his first Premier League start of the 2023/24.
Another change in the lineup saw Jakub Kiwior stepping in for the suspended Takehiro Tomiyasu. Tomiyasu’s controversial red card in the previous match against Crystal Palace left a void in Arsenal’s defense. Kiwior’s inclusion aimed to restore balance to the backline. However, this defensive shuffle wasn’t able to guarantee success.
Fulham Vs Arsenal: Recap
Arsenal faced a setback early in the match when Andreas Pereira scored for Fulham just 57 seconds into the game. Pereira capitalized on a loose ball, taking advantage of Bukayo Saka’s momentary lapse. However, Arsenal’s resilience shone through as Saka equalized from the penalty spot after Fabio Vieira was fouled by Kenny Tete.
Eddie Nketiah’s goal gave Arsenal the lead as they mounted a comeback. Vieira’s well-placed cross found Nketiah, who finished with precision. However, The Gunners were at a numerical advantage due to Calvin Bassey’s red card earlier.
Arsenal’s defense proved to be their Achilles’ heel. Palhinha’s unmarked finish in the 87th minute exposed their vulnerability and cost them two crucial points.
Arsenal’s defensive struggles persist, as they have now conceded late goals in games against Nottingham Forest and Fulham. The team’s defending, which haunted them in the previous season’s title challenge, remains a concern. The absence of key players like Tomiyasu and the makeshift positioning of others seem to have disrupted the defensive harmony.
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