Nigel Winterburn has warned Gabriel Jesus he faces a fight to get back in the team following Eddie Nketiah’s impressive form since the .
Jesus is still out with a knee injury he sustained during Brazil’s World Cup campaign in .
The 25-year-old, who completed a £50m move from last summer, impressed in the first-half of the season, with his form helping Arsenal go top of the Premier League.
There were fears Jesus’ absence would derail Arsenal’s title challenge but the Gunners show no signs of slowing down as they seek a first league title since 2004.
Nketiah’s performances have been key to Arsenal’s post-World Cup form, with the 23-year-old scoring six goals in six games, including a brace in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Manchester United.
Winterburn has hailed Nketiah for stepping up and says he has put real pressure on Jesus, who is expected to return in ‘weeks’ rather than ‘months’.
‘Eddie Nketiah has been brilliant since coming into the team, which will mean that Gabriel Jesus will need to earn his place back when he comes back from injury,’ Winterburn told .
‘He’s doing a fantastic job in terms of his energy and his link up play – he’s providing much more than just goals.
‘The question was whether Arsenal would go into the transfer market looking for a new striker, as a backup to Nketiah, but this hasn’t been the case.
‘I’ve always said that a team could never have too many strikers, as it provides plenty of options for a manager to pick from.
‘If the team can provide Eddie with enough chances in the box, he’ll find himself in the right position. He will have learnt a lot from his run in the team last season, with his positional play and getting into the box more, being an extra option.
‘We’re unsure when Gabriel Jesus will be returning from injury, so for now, we need to enjoy watching Eddie Nketiah scoring goals and playing well for the team.’
Mikel Arteta was asked for an update on Jesus’ return at his pre-Manchester City press conference on Wednesday, after the striker suggested he could be back in less than five weeks.
‘With him, I don’t know. He wants to be next week. It’s totally unrealistic,’ Arteta told reporters. ‘He’s pushing and driving everyone to the limits. Hopefully, it will be weeks not months.’
Premier League leaders Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Friday night to face Pep Guardiola’s Man City in the FA Cup.
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