Saturday, March 18, 2023

Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus makes two-word demand after Europa League exit

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has urged his teammates to keep their heads up after being knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting CP on Thursday evening.

The north Londoners came away from the first leg in Lisbon with a 2-2 result and the second leg at the Emirates Stadium got off to the perfect start thanks to Granit Xhaka’s first-half opener. However, the Gunners consistently lost their duels and allowed the away side to dominate the game for large spells before Pedro Goncalves caught Aaron Ramsdale off his line with an excellent long-range strike to tie the score on the night at 1-1.

Eventually, the match went to extra time, where Leandro Trossard saw a gilt-edge opportunity saved by Sporting goalkeeper Adan before Manuel Ugarte received a red card after picking up a second yellow card for a nasty challenge on Bukayo Saka in the dying embers of the game. Ruben Amorim’s side scored all five of their penalties during the shootout while Gabriel Martinelli failed to convert his spot-kick, meaning Mikel Arteta’s side were knocked out of the tournament at the round of 16 stage.

After the full-time whistle, centre-forward Jesus took to social media to motivate his teammates. The Brazilian international, who came off at half-time, posted a picture of Arsenal players lined up at the halfway line during the penalty shootout, with a caption saying: “Heads up” with fist bump and heart emojis attached.

Jesus had been out of action for over three months due to a knee injury sustained during Brazil’s World Cup campaign back in November. But the 25-year-old finally returned to the field on Sunday during the 3-0 victory over Fulham.

Next up for the Gunners is a home fixture against Crystal Palace, who decided to sack manager Patrick Vieira on Friday morning.

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