Date: 8th March 2023 at 7:58pm
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Arsenal face Sporting Lisbon on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie. 

Mikel Arteta’s side are flying high at the top of the Premier League table and currently find themselves five points clear of reigning champions Manchester City in second.

The Gunners will also be looking to progress in Europe and they face Sporting – who currently sit fourth in the Portuguese top flight – with the first leg taking place in Lisbon.

Ahead of the tie, Arteta has been handed a huge boost with one of his most important players nearing a return.

As reported by The Evening Standard, striker Gabriel Jesus has returned to full training ahead of his long-awaited return to action.

The 25-year-old has been sidelined since injuring his knee back in November, but he was pictured in training with his teammates ahead of their clash with Sporting.

Jesus joined Arsenal from rivals Manchester City last summer and made an instant impact at The Emirates, scoring five goals and providing six assists in his first 13 Premier League matches for the club.

Jesus returned to training on Wednesday after more than three months out

The forward boasts an impressive record in English football, having scored a total of 63 goals and registered 38 assists in 173 Premier League matches for both Arsenal and City.

Eddie Nketiah deputised in the Brazilian’s absence and largely impressed, scoring four goals in his first five league starts of the season.

It remains to be seen whether or not Jesus will be available for Arsenal’s trip to Portugal, with Arteta unlikely to start the striker following his long absence.

Nketiah is also set to miss the match, the report claims, which could leave Arteta rather short of options in attack.

Emile Smith-Rowe could lead the line for Arsenal, with both Jesus and Nketiah likely to be unavailable.

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