Oleksandr Zinchenko closed his window and began to manage the crowd. The left-back was driving away from the Emirates, where Arsenal had just beaten Crystal Palace to move eight points clear of the Premier League, when he approached a pub garden full of fans.
Zinchenko sounded his horn, clenched his first fist, and leaned out the window. and roared.
Almost at the same time, Gabriel Jesus came out of the dressing room to give his own shout out.
“Now is, in my opinion, the best part of the season,” said Jesus. “When you have playoffs, big games too, away and at home.
“Now is the time we have to play the same way, don’t change, be together and then we’ll see.”
Gabriel Jesus (right) and Aleksandr Zinchenko (left) signed from Man City to bring a winning mentality to Arsenal
Arsenal crushed Crystal Palace 4-1 on Sunday and Jesus wants the team to continue playing the same way in the second leg.
Now is exactly the time for which he and Zinchenko were also signed.
Winning mentality. Those customs and standards. The experience of navigating these roads is less crowded. Traits that Mikel Arteta’s young team lacks.
Qualities that, despite the speed, spirit and cunning that have carried Arsenal to the Premier League title, will prove vital if they are to hold off Manchester City.
With 10 matches to go, 10 finals as Bukayo Saka said, they remain in the driving seat.
“When you have a good relationship with your teammates, everything on the field works well,” said the Brazilian. “That’s why we’re at the top of the league: we play good football, we understand each other.”
Arsenal have two weeks until the next final – Leeds on April 1, and are expected to wait anxiously: after all, it was during the most recent international break – the World Cup in Qatar – Jesus suffered a knee injury that has kept him out for now.
“It’s very good to be back,” said the forward, who came off the bench in Sunday’s victory over Palace.
“It was a very long and bad injury… It’s not easy to be out for about four months.
I’d rather be on the court, helping and running and playing and assisting my teammates (than be out there. Out there, you’re suffering so much!).
Neither Jesus’ dry spell – he has been without a goal since October – nor Arsenal’s success in his absence should distract from the importance of this comeback after months of crying and psychological torture. The surgery was only the first step on a long and agonizing road to repairing the £45m striker’s body who – along with the likes of Zinchenko – transformed Arsenal.
Jesus made his first appearance in the UAE league since November on Sunday
Jesus has been sidelined for more than three months after knee surgery and admits it was a “serious injury”.
Countless ‘experts’ – not all of them particularly reputable – have allegedly offered treatments and two years.
Ultimately, this was a team effort involving Arsenal’s medics, physiotherapists, sports scientists, strength and conditioning staff, and even a soft tissue therapist.
Jesus said: “My family too – my wife, my daughter, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, my friends, everyone close to me helped me a lot.” “Here, too, are the people at the club – the players, the staff and the manager.”
Then there were the demons inside Jesus’ head.
I think the most important thing was my mind. I tried to stay focused, keep strong, and then come back healthy.
Jesus only started once since his return.
However, the attacker’s presence changed the mood and brought a greater dose of confidence.
In truth, Jesus’ influence never wavered. He was appointed vice-captain shortly after his arrival from the city.
Even during his period of improvement, he was always there – in the dressing room, on the touchline, in the ear of Eddie Nketiah, who was tasked with filling the huge hole in Arsenal’s frontline.
Jesus has praised Arsenal’s teamwork under Mikel Arteta this season
I wanted to share. Over the course of my life, I want to help as many people as possible.” ‘It helped me a lot.’
Jesus added: “I’m back now, fully fit. At the same time I’m very happy that the team is doing a good job. We’re keeping the distance to second place.
On their way to the final straight, City still hold some important cards. They have a game on hand. They know about days like this. They know Arsenal have to visit the Etihad in April.
It promises to be a severe test for the minds of Arsenal. and corpses. Once Christ returned, the casualties began piling up. Nketiah, Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba, Mohamed Elneny are all on the treatment table. So far this season, Arsenal have bridged any cracks that appear. No wonder Jesus hesitates to adopt the role of savior.
“The team is doing a very good job – I think nobody here is the main man,” he said.
“Everybody together. When I got injured, we were sure Eddie could go over there and help us – and he did. (Leandro) Trossard came in – and he did too.
“So everyone together, it’s like this. To be the champions of this big competition, we don’t just need 11 players.
Sunday’s victory over Palace means Arsenal have equaled last season’s points tally (69) with 10 matches remaining.
Unfortunately, in North London, dream has given way to belief and that means progress is no longer enough.
Jesus knows he faces a battle to get back into the team due to the form of Leandro Trossard (above) but is determined to play a decisive role in the final round.
You can forgive supporters for adjusting their expectations.
You can understand why the return of Jesus gives them more confidence.
“They have always been good to me – helping and pushing me,” said the forward.
The way they did last Sunday against Fulham (his comeback) was amazing. I will never forget it. All I want is to bring it back to them on the field, maybe in the next game, I don’t know. But I will help a lot.
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