Mikel Arteta revealed Gabriel Jesus played through the pain barrier during Arsenal’s hard fought win against Nottingham Forest last night.
The City Ground has represented an unhappy hunting ground for the Gunners in recent times but the Premier League title chasers laid something of a ghost to rest on Tuesday evening after two second half goals secured a 2-1 victory.
Having hit the post when it appeared easier to score early in the second half, Jesus atoned for that miss and broke the deadlock in the 65th minute when he somehow managed to prod the ball between Matt Turner’s legs from the narrowest of angles.
The Brazil international turned provider seven minutes later, spearheading a lightning counter-attack that ended with Bukayo Saka firing beyond his former teammate with a crisp low shot on his weaker right foot.
Taiwo Awoniyi caused a few nervous moments late on with a scrappy goal that ruined Arsenal’s clean sheet, but ultimately the visitors secured three points that piles the pressure on Liverpool ahead of tonight’s game against Chelsea.
Jurgen Klopp’s in-form side travel to the Emirates on Sunday for a mouthwatering top of the table clash and Arteta is desperate to have his No.9 available for an acid test of his side’s credentials.
The former Manchester City star underwent knee surgery earlier this season and he sent panic through the first team squad earlier this week when he he took a ‘big hit’ in training.
‘Gabi started to win the game two days ago,’ said Arteta in his post match press conference. ‘He had an issue with his knee and everyone was trying to protect him and saying don’t go outside.
‘But he was saying (matchday) -2, (matchday) -1, I want to be there I want to help the team to win the game. When you have that mentality, good things are going to happen. I’m really pleased with him.’
Asked if the injury was a concern, he added: ‘I don’t know. He got hit big time in the last game. His knee reacted and it’s the knee he had [surgery on] before.
‘He was super positive, he’s feeling good and he was so sharp in training. I’m not surprised with the way he played tonight.’
Arsenal’s dominance bordered on total during the first half but they failed to convert possession into goalscoring opportunities, something they will need to rectify against Liverpool.
Asked if his side were guilty of attempting to score the perfect goal, Arteta added: ‘We hit the post, Gabi has two headers, Emile has another one, Martin has two chances that don’t end up with a shot, Bukayo has two or three again.
‘The ugly goal and the bouncing ball can happen. They have to make those decisions. I don’t know how to teach them to kick it there and then have a rebound that goes in.’