Gabriel Jesus has vowed to make scoring goals his priority after inspiring Arsenal to a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

The Brazil forward, who shook off a knee injury to play in the game, opened the scoring in the 65th minute and then laid on a second for Bukayo Saka seven minutes later.

Jesus has had questions asked of him after scoring 19 goals in 56 games in all competitions since his £45million move from Manchester City in summer 2022, but he has been a creative force, registering 12 assists in that time.

The 26-year-old, who has scored 73 Premier League goals in total, now wants to concentrate on adding to that tally.

“Sometimes it is all about stats and sometimes it is all about watching the game,” he said. “Let’s go, come on.

“If you watch the game, you see me playing… I am close to 100 in the Premier League – that’s not easy.

“Then in the Champions League I am scoring a lot, in the national team I score. Sometimes, like I say, I am not focused on that (scoring goals) and that’s I think my mistake.

“So now, I think I change my mindset and I will be in the box more – and I try everything to score.”

Jesus is also working on keeping positive after missing chances – something he did at the City Ground as he scored moments after hitting the post.

 

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“Also I am changing my mindset, I think I am more focused on the game now,” he said. “Before, when I miss one or two chances (I may have got disheartened)… I think that was not the case today.

“I think I created and my team gave me the ball – it was amazing – and I hit the post. I think it was more unlucky than a miss, but I keep trying.

“A minute after, I create another one and I miss the time to shoot, but I keep working, I keep trying, I keep focused on the game.

“I try to find another way to score and it worked. Sometimes it is all about this. Keep trying and then it works.”

Jesus earned the praise of boss Mikel Arteta for his desire to play in the game despite a knee problem.

“Gabi started to win the game two days ago,” the Spaniard said. “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.

“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.”

Forest grabbed a late consolation through Taiwo Awoniyi on his first appearance since November following groin surgery, the Nigeria striker having been introduced as a half-time replacement for the injured Chris Wood.

“His hamstring felt very tight,” head coach Nuno Espirito Santo said of the New Zealand international. “There was a big risk of injury. He was not feeling OK to continue, so that’s why we made the change.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta “loved” seeing Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko clash with each other at the end of his side’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners were cruising to an easy three points at the City Ground after second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka but endured a nervy ending when Taiwo Awoniyi capitalised on a defensive mistake to give Forest a lifeline.

They saw out the victory which closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool, but celebrations were cut short when White and Zinchenko had to be separated after arguing over the goal they conceded.

Arteta said: “I love it, they demand more from each other and they are not happy with the way they concede that and they are trying to resolve it.

“It was a bit heated, but that means it is not enough playing the way we played, the result has to be bigger.

“That’s pushing each other and being not happy conceding and I have to encourage that and promote it in the right way and a respectful way.

“Sometimes after the game it’s emotional and heated, but I love that the players are pushing each other and demanding excellence.”

The victory saw the Gunners exorcise the ghosts of last season when May’s 1-0 defeat at the City Ground saw their title challenge come to an end.

And Arteta was pleased to see his side put that right.

“I could feel it, they were talking about it coming to that dressing room,” he said. “It really reminds you, our brains and bodies are really intelligent and coming to the same situation they know what happened and they were really active and engaged and they were talking about the game with each other.

“I thought it was really good.

“I am really happy with the performance and the result. We saw what happened last year and we wanted to put it right, we wanted to generate some momentum in the league and I thought we did that.

“The performance was very good, we completely dominated the game. We had to be patient but we always had an eye to the opponent, we didn’t allow them to run.”

Awoniyi’s goal raised Forest’s hopes of snatching a draw, which would have been a steal considering they made no real attempt to win the match, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s pragmatic approach.

Defeat leaves them hovering precariously above the relegation zone, with the threat of a possible points deduction for breaching Premier League financial rules.

Boss Nuno said: “First half, we defended well. We were organised, compact and didn’t allow too many situations.

“Arsenal are a very good team in possession of the ball. We had to be patient and cover the right spaces in the wide areas.

“We were missing more possession of the ball. We should have had more possession; that was a negative. We were better in that aspect in the second half.

“We started the second half well and had good spells of possession. It was disappointing the way we conceded both goals.

“It was avoidable. We can avoid those situations.

“After we scored, there was a feeling we could have got something. We had a good 10-minute spell. But to sum up, we should have played better.”

Arsenal overcame a sluggish first-half performance to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points after a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

The Gunners looked toothless in the first half, but rallied to register three big points thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka.

The result leaves them on the coattails of Liverpool, who can extend their lead back to five points against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Forest had no intention of going for the win in a pragmatic approach deployed by Nuno Espirito Santo, but they made a game of it late on as Taiwo Awoniyi slammed home in the 89th minute.

Arsenal saw it out to end a three-game losing streak at the City Ground and exorcise the ghosts of last season’s defeat, which saw their title challenge come to an end.

Forest’s situation at the foot of the Premier League is looking precarious, as they sit two points above the relegation zone with the threat of a points deduction for breaking financial rules hanging over them.

It is not in Nuno’s make-up to play an expansive game and his plan was to put men behind the ball and ask Arsenal the question of whether they could break them down.

The first half provided an answer of a resounding no, as for all their possession and territorial advantage the Gunners lacked a cutting edge to trouble Forest.

They had seven shots on target but none of them tested their former team-mate Matt Turner in the Forest goal, with Saka’s snapshot which deflected off Murillo and just wide the nearest they came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes.

Forest offered next to nothing as an attacking force, registering just one pass in the final third in the opening half-hour, with Danilo’s drive over the crossbar from distance their only real foray forward.

The Gunners began to turn the screw after the second half and put Forest’s goal under serious threat for the first time.

Turner was forced into his first save when he palmed away Saka’s deflected effort with a strong hand before their best moment came four minutes later.

An intricate move involving Saka and Martin Odegaard led to Jesus being played in but he smashed his effort from a narrow angle into a post.

Eventually Arsenal’s pressure told as they took the lead in the 65th minute, though Turner will not want to see it again.

Forest switched off from Zinchenko’s throw-in and Jesus burst to the byline where his toe-poked shot went through Turner’s legs and into the back of the net.

Turner has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a number of high-profile mistakes, but has been backed by Nuno, himself a former goalkeeper, though this may change things.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later after a breakaway goal. Gonzalo Montiel fluffed a clearance on the halfway line, skewing straight to Odegaard, who set Jesus free and he picked out Saka at the far post, with the England international making no mistake.

Forest had rarely threatened but Awoniyi, making his first appearance since November, converted after William Saliba’s mistake late on, though they could find a leveller.

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson deflected to the club’s decision-makers when asked if his side’s crushing 5-0 defeat at Arsenal could raise questions about his job security.

Substitute Gabriel Martinelli buried the Eagles with two goals inside two minutes of second-half stoppage time, adding to Gabriel and Leandro Trossard’s earlier efforts and a Dean Henderson own goal that all-but guaranteed the hosts victory before half-time.

As Palace defender Chris Richards nodded over a chance to claw back a late consolation, away supporters raised a banner reading “wasted potential on and off the pitch, weak decisions taking us backwards” while another protested “no shared vision, no structured plan”.

Hodgson, when asked if he felt he had unified support of his boyhood club’s board and those above, replied: “That’s a question for them, isn’t it? But if you’re asking me if I’ve ever felt a lack of support from them, then the answer is no.

“I think they’ve been good, but I mean now in [the] situation that you’re obviously discussing, in this scenario you’re envisaging, that’s going to be a question for them.”

He later added: “When a team isn’t doing as well as it should be doing, someone needs to be held responsible, and that’s the manager.”

The Eagles’ vital victory over Brentford to end 2023 and snap an eight-game winless streak seemed to subdue Hodgson’s critics, but Saturday’s result will no doubt loudly revive that chorus, particularly following on from their midweek third-round FA Cup replay loss to Everton in which the former England manager controversially substituted the influential Eberechi Eze.

While he and his players felt there were “infringements” ignored by referee Paul Tierney in the build-up to the opening pair of goals, Hodgson took the blame for Martinelli’s quickfire brace, admitting he had perhaps erred in removing some of his tiring starters in favour of “young lads, and it was too much to ask them to go on and deal with a rampant Arsenal”.

Hodgson understood the frustration from the disillusioned Palace fanbase, adding: “All I can say is I think they are totally entitled to their opinion in that respect. I do understand their frustration, even anger and disappointment, and things haven’t gone better.

“We can make our excuses which we’ve been doing because certain things have worked against us in this period of time, but the bottom line is that if we’re going to go forward and avoid relegation and do well, we need those fans with us. Hopefully we can do our best to keep them on board.”

Arsenal, meanwhile, avoided a fourth-straight defeat across all competitions and kept within striking distance of the Premier League title.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was particularly pleased with the way his side worked their set-pieces in their first top-flight meeting of 2024, saying: “Credit to all the coaches, to Nico [Jover, set-piece coach] for the amount of time and belief we put in.

“It’s got a huge impact. We’ve seen that as well in recent games that we’ve lost when we’ve conceded set-pieces, so the outcome is very different when you don’t concede and score.

“We wanted to start the second part of the season with a great performance, with a great result, and build that positivity and momentum again, and I think the boys did a good job today.”

Substitute Gabriel Martinelli scored a late double to consign Crystal Palace to a crushing 5-0 defeat at Arsenal which increases the pressure on Roy Hodgson.

Gabriel nodded in the opener for the Gunners, while Eagles keeper Dean Henderson was credited with an own goal and Leandro Trossard grabbed the third on an afternoon that rarely saw Hodgson’s side pose a threat.

Eberechi Eze marked a century of Premier League appearances after he was controversially replaced in the 64th minute of Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay loss to Everton and provided the occasional bright spark for the visitors.

It was hardly enough to please the away supporters, who raised banners protesting against the direction of their club before Martinelli buried their side moments later.

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko returned to Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up for the Gunners, who were ahead seconds after the 10-minute mark when Gabriel leveraged the shoulders of Palace defender Chris Richards to rise highest and head home Declan Rice’s corner.

Palace were lucky to avoid falling further behind when a dangerous deflection off midfielder Jefferson Lerma flew towards the top left corner of his own net only to clip the woodwork.

That sigh of relief did little to relieve the overall pressure, Palace rarely finding themselves in the vicinity of the Gunners’ goal until the half hour, when Eze fired a free-kick from a dangerous position straight into a wall of red shirts.

David Raya was finally called into action when his own clearance only travelled as far as Lerma, who forced the Arsenal keeper into a low, diving save at his left post.

The Gunners doubled their advantage in the 37th minute when Gabriel nodded Bukayo Saka’s corner towards Henderson’s net and was initially awarded the goal, which stood after a VAR check but subsequently changed to an own goal for the Palace keeper.

There was a late attempt by Lerma, who had just been treated for what initially looked to be a head or neck injury, comfortably saved, while an onrushing Trossard failed to find the back of the net in first-half added time.

Palace had scored two or more goals in just five of their Premier League meetings going into this 21st encounter and desperately hoped to make it six after the break, when Henderson denied Rice and Raya safely handled Eze’s effort.

The chances kept coming for Arsenal, who were denied a possible penalty after a VAR consultation, and they were soon three goals to the good after Jesus’ pinpoint pass found Trossard, who weaved around Nathaniel Clyne and neatly finished to the top left.

Richards nodded over in added-time, in full view of supporters in the away end who raised a banner reading “wasted potential on and off the pitch, weak decisions taking us backwards”.

Moments later, substitute Martinelli fired in the hosts’ fourth, then a near-identical fifth.

Declan Rice believes Arsenal’s “never-say-die” attitude can lead them to Premier League glory this season.

The England midfielder headed home a last-gasp winner as Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory at Luton on Tuesday night.

Rice nodded in Martin Odegaard’s cross to spark scenes of wild celebration in the away end after Kai Havertz had earlier drawn them level at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors had led 2-1 at half-time as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of Gabriel Osho’s equaliser but two errors from goalkeeper David Raya gifted Luton the lead.

Elijah Adebayo headed in a corner with Raya stranded as the Spain international came off his line and got nowhere near the ball before Ross Barkley’s shot squirmed under his body to take the roof off Luton’s famous old stadium.

Arsenal, though, proved their title-winning credentials by battling back to go five points clear before Wednesday night’s games, and Rice believes their knack of scoring late can galvanise the Gunners this season.

“I think last year they were eight points clear and obviously lost the title,” the £105million summer signing said.

“This year there definitely seems to be a different feel around the place in terms of being stern, being steady, being composed in big moments.

“Luton Town caused us a massive threat and it looked like we were going to drop points. But this season, it’s that never-say-die attitude that we’ve got that we keep pushing, keep fighting to the end and I think that’s our fifth goal in added time.

“I think we should start scoring some a bit earlier! But to score in added time, it shows what we are made of and we will never stop believing.”

Rice’s header was the ninth league goal Arsenal have scored in the 84th minute or beyond this campaign, with their late shows earning them an additional nine points.

Arteta was booked for his over-zealous celebrations following Rice’s winner and will now be banned from the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

For Luton, it was a tale of what might have been on a night when they went toe-to-toe with a team that spent 248 days at the top of the table last season before losing out to Manchester City.

“Proud. Devastated – the two words are proud and devastated,” experienced winger Andros Townsend said when asked to describe his feelings.

“Proud because it was an amazing performance against one of Europe’s best clubs, score three goals, press higher to not give them any time on the ball, to have chances.

“To still lose it, devastating, but on Sunday we’ve got Man City, so we have to drown our sorrows and then we have to take the positives and look forward to another tough game.”

Declan Rice scored a last-gasp winner to settle a seven-goal thriller at Luton, sparing the blushes of goalkeeper David Raya to send Arsenal five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Luton had looked on course to land a thoroughly deserved draw after two errors from Raya had seen them hit the front – only for the Gunners to rally and win it 4-3 at the death.

Raya embraced Rice at the full-time whistle after Kai Havertz had earlier drawn the visitors level in what proved to be a thrilling contest at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors had led 2-1 at half-time as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of a Gabriel Osho equaliser.

Raya, whose role as Arteta’s number one continues to be in the spotlight with Aaron Ramsdale warming the bench, then gifted two goals to Luton in the space of eight minutes as Elijah Adebayo and Ross Barkley turned the game on its head.

Havertz appeared to have salvaged a point for Arsenal but they pushed on to the last and £105million summer signing Rice nodded in a fine Martin Odegaard cross to wrap up the victory.

Having seemingly spent more time on his back than on the ball, Martinelli silenced a raucous home crowd with the opening goal.

Luton had started aggressively but played their part in falling behind as Amari’i Bell’s overhit backpass was put out for a throw by Thomas Kaminski. Jesus was quick off the mark to find Bukayo Saka, who laid the ball across for Martinelli to scuff home with their first effort on target.

The home fans would not be kept quiet for long, however, as Osho easily drifted away from the attentions of Martinelli to head home Alfie Doughty’s corner five minutes later.

In what was proving to be a mixed bag of a first half for Martinelli, he almost put Arsenal back in front after the half-hour having been slipped in by Jesus but his effort was superbly stopped by Kaminski.

The Hatters goalkeeper was on hand again soon after to push away a Saka strike after the England forward cut inside with ease.

Luton, though, could not make it into the half-time break on level terms as Ben White stood up a cross to the back post where Jesus headed in from close range.

Less than five minutes after the restart, however, the hosts equalised for the second time as Adebayo rose to head in another Doughty corner with Raya coming off his line and getting nowhere near the ball.

The roof came off Kenilworth Road as Luton hit the front for the first time soon after, Raya again at fault as Rob Edwards’ experienced heads combined with Andros Townsend feeding Barkley, whose low shot squirmed in under the Spanish goalkeeper.

All of Luton’s hard work was undone just three minutes later as Arsenal this time drew level, Havertz finishing off after a long ball had been steered into his path by Jesus.

The Gunners wanted a penalty after Saka was challenged in the box by Osho and Gabriel Magalhaes went down as he jostled for a cross but referee Sam Barratt pointed for a corner following a VAR check.

It was Arsenal pushing for a late winner and Kaminski turned a Havertz header over at the end of a slick move.

Rice would ultimately make the difference as Arsenal were patient in their build-up, Odegaard swapping passes with substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko before crossing in for Rice to head home.

Mikel Arteta admitted it was a “genuine dream” watching Arsenal’s dominant 6-0 victory over Lens at the Emirates Stadium which saw them qualify for the Champions League last 16.

The Gunners topped Group B with a game to spare after they battered their French opponents with six different goalscorers.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard struck in the first half before Jorginho added their sixth from the penalty spot late on.

Arsenal boss Arteta talked up his team’s determination which secured the club’s 100th Champions League victory.

“It was a genuine dream,” Arteta said.

“We had a chance to qualify today and we’ve done it in a really convincing way against a really good side. The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game.

“It’s great we’re able to win in this way and we showed at home not to concede any goals and score a lot which is a positive factor. The players need to believe we can do that against big opponents.”

The Spaniard noted that qualification with a game to spare allows him to rotate in Arsenal’s final group fixture against PSV Eindhoven on December 12.

Arteta added: “Every time we play a football match we’ll prepare in the best way but it will give us some room now certainly in relation to the state of the squad by being able to use certain players more or less.”

Havertz scored his second in as many games after the German netted a dramatic late winner in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory at Brentford.

The attacker’s influence in recent games has impressed Arteta after a difficult start to life in north London since his reported £65million move from Chelsea in the summer.

“Kai again scored two goals in two games and that’s really good for the confidence of the player,” he added.

“He’s scoring goals, playing well, participating in wins. Those are positive attributes and you can see the reception of his team-mates and the crowd singing his name and being with him in every positive action.

“These are good things that are going to help him show why he’s a tremendous player.”

Declan Rice had another flawless game in midfield and Arteta applauded the England international’s consistency and decision-making.

He said: “He was superb again today with the consistency and understanding of the game that he’s showing.

“The decision-making all the time and the action and timing to win the ball back is so good.”

Arsenal secured their place in the last-16 of the Champions League with a scintillating 6-0 thrashing of Lens on a night where Manchester United’s participation in the competition hangs by a thread.

United were left to rue their inability to close out a match in Europe once again after they let slip a two-goal lead twice to draw 3-3 at Galatasaray.

Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Fernandes scored inside 18 minutes before Andre Onana made the first of two errors to allow Hakim Ziyech to reduce the deficit.

Before Ziyech’s second, Scott McTominay found the net in the 55th minute to put Erik ten Hag’s team on course for a vital victory.

Yet Onana fumbled Ziyech’s set-piece over the line with 28 minutes left in Instanbul before Kerem Akturkoglu levelled with 71 minutes on the clock.

It finished all square to ensure Galatasaray still have their knock-out hopes in their own hands going into the final Group A fixture away to Copenhagen on December 12, while United must beat Bayern Munich and hope the clash in Denmark finishes as a draw.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen held Bayern to a thoroughly deserved goalless draw in Munich, which ended on a controversial note.

Minutes after Manuel Neuer had made an outstanding double save to deny ex-Celtic attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi, referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the hosts a penalty.

Frappart pointed to the spot after a pass by Bayern substitute Frans Kratzig hit Peter Ankersen’s arm from close proximity, but VAR told the French official to review the incident using the pitchside monitor and she overturned her 92nd-minute decision to ensure it stayed 0-0.

 

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There was drama aplenty in Group B too but not at the Emirates where Arsenal produced a five-star first-half display to thrash Lens.

Mikel Arteta’s side were 5-0 up at half-time after goals by Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Jorginho added a sixth from the penalty spot late on for Arsenal, who guaranteed top spot and progression into the knockout phase.

PSV have joined them after Ricardo Pepi scored a stoppage-time winner to down nine-man Sevilla.

A 3-2 victory for PSV earlier in the day, coupled with Arsenal’s result, meant the Dutch outfit are guaranteed second spot.

Jude Bellingham scored again to help Real Madrid edge a six-goal thriller with Napoli in Group C.

Bellingham headed home in the first-half, but Carlo Ancelotti had to rely on late goals by Nico Paz and Joselu to beat Napoli 4-2.

Braga and Union Berlin played out a 1-1 draw in Portugal.

Inter Milan fought back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Benfica in Group D.

Joao Mario struck a first-half hat-trick for Benfica against his old club, but last season’s runners-up staged an excellent fightback with Marko Arnautovic, Davide Frattesi and Alexis Sanchez on target.

Real Sociedad remain top of Group D despite being held to a goalless draw by RB Salzburg.

Arsenal stylishly cruised into the Champions League knockout stages as Group B winners by thrashing French club Lens 6-0 at Emirates Stadium.

The Premier League leaders kicked off needing just a point to reach the last 16 of the competition following PSV Eindhoven’s 3-2 comeback win at Sevilla earlier on Wednesday evening.

Mikel Arteta’s men duly delivered in devastating fashion thanks to first-half goals from Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Substitute Jorginho completed the scoring with a late penalty, awarded following VAR intervention for a handball by Abdukodir Khusanov.

A one-sided encounter in north London was marred slightly by visiting fans throwing a lit flare at home supporters in the aftermath of Saka’s 23rd-minute strike.

With first place in the pool emphatically secured with a game to spare, Gunners boss Arteta now has the luxury of being able to rotate his squad for next month’s visit to Eindhoven amid a hectic December fixture list which could determine the seriousness of his side’s title ambitions.

The Spaniard made just two changes from Saturday’s dramatic 1-0 win at Brentford, which moved the Gunners top of the table.

Havertz was recalled as reward for his late winner against the Bees, while on-loan goalkeeper David Raya was restored having been cup-tied against his parent club.

Arsenal controlled proceedings from the first whistle and quickly blew away last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up.

The recalled Havertz, who had already headed narrowly wide, capitalised on static defending to open the scoring in the 13th minute, poking beyond France keeper Brice Samba from close range following Jesus’ nod down.

Lens’ vocal travelling support responded by throwing a pyrotechnic device on to the field before quickly seeing the game run away from their outclassed team.

Jesus doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 21st minute, calmly sidestepping Kevin Danso and coolly slotting past Samba following strong running from Saka.

England forward Saka quickly added to the punishment by finishing with his left thigh on the rebound after Samba poorly parried Martinelli’s initial effort.

That unorthodox finish led to unsavoury scenes as an active flare was launched from the away end into home spectators in the tier above.

Dominant Arsenal continued to shine brighter on the pitch and Martinelli lit up the contest with a wonderful fourth with only 27 minutes on the clock.

The Brazil international raced away down the left flank and then cut inside Przemyslaw Frankowski to curl a sumptuous finish into the far corner.

Arsenal’s first defeat of the season came in the reverse fixture in northern France at the start of October.

On this evidence, most inside the ground must have been wondering how, albeit Lens’ Facundo Medina rattled the right post from distance during a rare foray forward.

That proved to a fleeting moment of positivity for the away side, who went into the break 5-0 down after Odegaard expertly volleyed home Takehiro Tomiyasu’s cross.

Arteta used a more subdued second period to rest some of his star names, with Saka and the outstanding Declan Rice among those withdrawn.

Substitute Reiss Nelson came close to adding to the visitors’ embarrassment but his deflected effort was repelled by former Nottingham Forest keeper Samba.

Lens’ misery was completed four minutes from time when Jorginho calmly sent Samba the wrong way from the spot after substitute Khusanov was punished for handling on review.

Mikel Arteta has warned Aaron Ramsdale not to rush any decision over his future after England manager Gareth Southgate told the goalkeeper he could not promise him a place at Euro 2024 if he remains on the bench at Arsenal.

Ramsdale has been called up by Southgate for England’s final two qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia and will be aiming to add to his four senior caps.

However, the 25-year-old has been ousted as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper since the arrival of David Raya from Brentford and has played just twice since the September international break.

Speaking after naming his latest squad, Southgate said of Ramsdale’s plight: “I think longer-term, we’re just going to have to see how it is. I had that conversation with him in the last camp.

“He’s still battling to be the number one at Arsenal, and his profile and the way he can use the ball with his feet, we like, we think that’s important.

“But there is a reality as a keeper, if we get to March and he’s six months without playing regularly, then I’m never going to promise things that I couldn’t guarantee delivering.”

Arteta has not spoken to Ramsdale about the issue but warned against a January move in a quest to find first-team football.

“First of all my door is open to speak about any player,” he said.

“We just want the best for our players and we try to do that, and we know the influence that we can have – sometimes positively, sometimes not so positively, towards them.

“We will always try to do our best to help them, but this is a team sport that needs 24 players that have to fulfil a role. And the role that you have in August, it might be very different to the one you have in March.

“So making early decisions, in my experience, is not something good at all and as well because the team has certain needs that has to be accomplished. And in order to do that you cannot do it with six, 10 or 14 players. It is impossible. So you need everyone and Aaron has a really important role in the team.

“I have no messages for any clubs (who may look to sign Ramsdale). I can talk a little bit about my players, how much I like my players, how much I like Aaron and that we want Aaron with us, that’s for sure.”

Ramsdale is likely to once again be among the substitutes as Arsenal host Burnley on Saturday night looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Arteta, though, could be without as many as eight first-team players for the visit of the Clarets as captain Martin Odegaard is “still racing” to be fit, while Bukayo Saka and Takehiro Tomiyasu both came off injured in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Sevilla.

Forwards Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah could miss out with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively, while Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe and Jurrien Timber are definite absentees.

“Some of the injuries that we had, they are some bad luck, some of them have been long-term injuries with some special players and when we didn’t have a lot of depth,” he added.

“We can talk about the depth, but after you have to talk about the specific positions or certain units where we are a little bit shorter.

“But it is the challenge of the season and other people have to step up, and that as well is a good test for the team – how we take those moments and how we actually respond to that. So far, the team is doing well.”

Mikel Arteta believes Declan Rice’s potential return to West Ham will be “beautiful” – if the Arsenal manager decides to play the midfielder in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash.

The 24-year-old England international moved across London in the summer, the Gunners paying a club-record £105million to prise him away from the Hammers.

Rice, who captained West Ham to victory in the Europa Conference League final in the last of his 245 games for the club he joined at the age of 14, could be in line for his first return to east London having shone in the opening months of his fledgling Arsenal career.

“It will be his first time back at his old club and a beautiful moment for him, I think,” Arteta said on the eve of the fourth-round tie.

“I think it is beautiful. I had a chance to do it a few times and then you really see what they think of you and what you left at the club.”

Arteta feels Rice will receive a warm welcome from the West Ham fans, adding: “Every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him and everybody at the club, he cannot talk any higher of them, so hopefully they will be the same way towards him.”

While Arteta suggested it was “likely” Rice would be involved in the game in some way, he was rested entirely for the 1-0 win at Brentford in the previous round.

The Spaniard made a total of eight changes for the victory in west London but insists the Carabao Cup – which he won twice as a coach at Manchester City – is still a major honour.

“It’s a competition that we have the chance to progress and win a trophy and our mindset has to be focused on West Ham,” he said.

“I live it exactly the same as the Premier League (on Wednesday). I have the same thing in my tummy and the certain thing and same way to prepare and I’m going to be there, closer to the game, and I just want to win the game for sure.

“Even if you are doing rotations, I think the role of the players that are now committed to challenge for this trophy or for this game, I think it’s critical for them to show what they can do.”

Gabriel Jesus will not feature despite Arteta revealing the striker is “already pushing” to return from a hamstring injury suffered in a Champions League win at Sevilla last week.

Captain Martin Odegaard is again likely to be rested as he recovers from a hip complaint, while Arteta admitted to “concerns” over Thomas Partey’s most recent setback.

The Ghana midfielder missed just seven games in five years at Atletico Madrid but has been plagued with issues since joining Arsenal in 2020 – sitting out 53 fixtures for club and country in that time.

“I think that he will be out for weeks,” Arteta said of Partey’s latest injury.

“It is a big concern because, when Thomas is fit and available and he’s been part of the team, we have seen what the results and the impact that he has on the team.

“This season we have more protection, especially for that reason as well because we know in the past two seasons what has happened and the impact that it had on the team, so we had to address that.”

Mikel Arteta hailed “top-level” Eddie Nketiah after the England striker hit a first Premier League hat-trick in a convincing 5-0 win over bottom club Sheffield United.

Nketiah scored the first three goals as the Gunners ran out comfortable victors, with Fabio Vieira’s penalty and Takehiro Tomiyasu’s first goal for the club completing the rout.

The victory took Arsenal up to second place, two points behind leaders and north London rivals Tottenham as Arteta’s men remain unbeaten after 10 league games.

With Gabriel Jesus facing a few weeks out with a hamstring issue, Nketiah has once again been tasked with filling his boots at centre-forward.

His touch and finish for the opening goal proved he can do the job as the England international set the Gunners on their way to a victory over the rock bottom Blades.

He doubled the lead after half-time and rifled home a memorable third – before ending the game with the captain’s armband.

“For me, he’s top-level,” Arteta said after the win.

“He has started eight out of the 10 Premier League games. So that tells you how much we trust him, how much I trust him and and the importance that he has in the team.

“I’m really happy for him, an academy player to experience in the Premier League a hat-trick. He needs to enjoy the moment. He fully deserves it and hopefully there are many more to come.

“He’s got an eye for goal. You look at the stats from his last 10 years. What he’s done is remarkable and he needs minutes, opportunities and service and if he gets that, Eddie is going to score goals, that’s for sure.”

Arsenal are yet to suffer a league defeat this season but Arteta revealed he gave his players an “alert” in training this week after some tough fixtures either side of the October international break.

“They took the game in a really serious way because I gave them on Thursday a big alert because of the context and the difference in the game that we have to play today with the previous Man City,
Chelsea and Sevilla games and I’m really happy how they approached it.

“Obviously they come from the national team, so we beat City, we come from national team, we have to go to Stamford Bridge and we did what we did in Stamford Bridge.

“Then you have to go to Seville and that’s a really really stressful week with what they were experiencing in the last few weeks as well.”

Sheffield United remain bottom and with just one point from their opening nine games.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side are also struggling with injuries – but he was not ready to use that as an excuse for a bad day at the office.

“Arsenal had a lot of the ball first half but Wes (Foderingham) had one save to make,” he said.

“Second half, the goals were really poor that we conceded and probably a reflection of how I thought the game was – they outfought us as well as outplayed us in the first half and that is what good teams can do.

“We are down to the bare bones and missing some big personalities and physicality.”

Gabriel Jesus believes he can finally win the Champions League and has told his Arsenal team-mates to share the faith.

The Brazil forward has a love affair with Europe’s premiere club competition and was the difference-maker as Arsenal won 2-1 at Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Jesus provided a moment of magic to lay on the opening goal for compatriot Gabriel Martinelli before curling home a fine individual effort – although his celebrations were curtailed as he limped off with 10 minutes to go.

The former Manchester City striker, who came off the bench when Pep Guardiola’s side lost the 2021 Champions League final to Chelsea, has a phenomenal strike-rate in the competition – his goal at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium was his 23rd in 41 appearances for City and Arsenal.

He still harbours ambitions of winning the trophy and feels it is something he and his colleagues can achieve this season.

“It’s a competition that I love,” he said after his man-of-the-match display.

“All the competitions I love, because I just love to play football. But I don’t know, since day one in the Champions League, my debut, I scored goals.

“I haven’t won it yet, so I am looking for this, for this beautiful trophy. Obviously it is not easy, but I think we have to believe. If we don’t believe, we cannot be here.”

While his goal was a moment to savour, Jesus’ role in Martinelli’s opening effort will live long in the memory as a deft touch took two Sevilla midfielders out of the game.

A perfectly-weighted slide-rule pass played in Martinelli who, having missed a golden chance to break the deadlock earlier in the game, obliged with a cool finish as the two Brazil internationals combined to great effect.

“I think for me as the type of player I am, I drop a lot more on the left side than the right side,” Jesus replied when asked about his relationship and understanding playing alongside Martinelli.

“Obviously I drop on the right as well to help B (Bukayo Saka) and to play with B, but I drop more on the left. It works.

“The wingers we have, not just Martinelli and B, but Reiss (Nelson), Leo (Trossard) and even Eddie (Nketiah) or Fabio (Vieira) when they play there, they are quality players.

“I just go out wide and I try to play short passes and give them the ball, and they try to find me as well. It worked with Martinelli and I am very happy.”

Mikel Arteta’s side return to domestic action when they welcome Premier League bottom club Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners are unbeaten in their opening nine league games of the campaign and Jesus could yet be involved despite limping off late on in Spain.

“I felt something. Let’s see,” he said. “I did some tests with the physio, it looks not that big, but let’s see. I have a scan, maybe tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will be nothing.”

Mikel Arteta has praised Gabriel Jesus for bringing “belief” and “energy” to Arsenal as the forward shone in victory at Sevilla.

Jesus continued his love affair with the Champions League with a fine goal and assist double as the Gunners won 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

A piece of magic set up compatriot Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Jesus doubled the lead with a fine, curling finish of his own – although he later limped off having moments earlier held his hamstring.

The Brazil forward may not boast the most prolific strike record but he has now scored an impressive 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition.

Asked if Jesus had been signed from Manchester City because of his prowess in the competition, Arteta replied: “For sure. He has been through a lot in the last few years and he’s still really young.

“He has enormous experiences – some of them not the nicest but very necessary to be the player that he is today. I’m really happy to have him in the team.

“He came here for a reason. I think he changed our world. He brought so much belief and energy to that team, he needs to step in in those moments. He’s done that. That’s when a player becomes accountable for the team.

“Big games are for big players. He needed to produce those moments to win in a stadium like this. He’s done it for us in a really big way. Then, really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that.

“We need those players to win games. If you want to play Manchester City, then go to Stamford Bridge, then come here – that’s the level we’re at right now. To come here and win, big credit to the boys.”

Jesus’ night ended as he hobbled off to be replaced by Eddie Nketiah in the latter stages – with Arteta admitting he is concerned for the striker.

“(I am) really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that,” he added.

“He straight away asked to be subbed which is not good news because Gabriel is not a player who does that at all. We will have to wait and see in the next few days.”

The victory saw Arsenal recover from defeat in Lens last time out and was enough to take them to the top of Group B at the halfway stage.

Arteta’s side will be in a good position to reach the knockout stages if they beat Sevilla in the return game at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight and the Spaniard was pleased with the reaction to defeat in France.

“That result against Lens put us in a difficult position and the team had to react,” he said.

“We are coming from the back of very difficult games where the team has to step in and go against adversity as well with some of the injuries that we picked up to big players.

“The team is so willing to at least try their best even if we don’t manage to be our best all the time.”

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