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.”

Mikel Arteta admitted back-to-back defeats have halted Arsenal’s Premier League momentum but warned against putting his side’s rocky run under the microscope.

Arsenal’s title challenge has faltered in recent matches following a home loss to West Ham on December 28 before they suffered another defeat at Fulham three days later.

The Gunners have slipped to fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Liverpool who they host in the third round of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

“We were not at the level (against Fulham) and we were not good enough,” said Arteta. “I don’t think we deserved to lose but we didn’t do enough to win it.

“It affects momentum that we had. Until Christmas Day we were top of the league and six days later we are fourth.

“You can be very tempted to look at things with a microscope or take the telescope and look a little bit further ahead and treat things with a little bit more perspective.

“And my job, big time, is to look with the telescope, have perspective, analyse things in a broader way and not get affected by one performance; not results, just one performance.”

Arsenal had 30 attempts on goal in their defeat to West Ham – but it was a different story at Craven Cottage as Arteta’s side failed to create chances.

The club continue to be linked with a new striker, although Brentford manager Thomas Frank said only an “unbelievable” offer would force the Bees to sell Ivan Toney during this month’s transfer window.

“We are open to the transfer market,” added Arteta. “But the emphasis is on making the most of the players we have.

“We will work with the club and see if we have any good options but first, our focus is on the players here.”

Put to Arteta that Arsenal might not sign anyone before the window closes, he replied: “That’s a possibility.”

Arteta is likely to rotate his squad for the visit of Liverpool, with defender Oleksandr Zinchenko possibly back in the frame after missing the defeat against Fulham. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is also set to be handed a rare start in place of David Raya.

And Arteta has challenged the Arsenal supporters to create a difficult environment for Jurgen Klopp’s visiting side.

“There is a big history between the FA Cup and the club and we have a big opportunity (against Liverpool) to start again and make a beautiful journey,” said the Gunners boss.

“We are really happy with the atmosphere that we have created at the Emirates Stadium and on Sunday can we make it even more hostile? I think we can.

“We have to be so grateful for what we are achieving in our home ground and Sunday is going to be a big one again.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the pick of the goals as 10-man Arsenal secured a comfortable win over Burnley to move level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta’s side took advantage of rivals Tottenham losing earlier in the day to pick-up a 3-1 victory over struggling Burnley, whose captain Josh Brownhill cancelled out Leandro Trossard’s brave opener at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal reacted well to being pegged back and William Saliba headed them level just three minutes later before Zinchenko’s scissor kick wrapped up the points, although the hosts did lose Fabio Vieira to a late red card.

Despite several injury doubts heading into the game, Arteta made just one alteration as Zinchenko replaced the unfit Ben White in defence as Bukayo Saka was deemed fit enough to start despite limping off in Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Sevilla.

The England winger had a great effort well saved by James Trafford as Arsenal set their stall out to attack from the off.

They would be frustrated, however, by a Burnley defence already at the stage of throwing themselves in front of shots and making last-ditch blocks before the half-hour mark, Saka time and again finding space and Kai Havertz also drifting in to cause trouble.

Havertz, still without a goal from open play since his £65million move from Chelsea, headed wide a glorious chance from a corner before Burnley threatened for the first time.

A rare mistake from Saliba gifted the ball to Johann Gudmundsson, who raced through on goal to force David Raya into a good, low stop.

Trossard was the next Arsenal player denied by Trafford, his effort from range tipped over the bar after Declan Rice had robbed Brownhill of possession in a dangerous area of the pitch.

The Belgium international was deployed as a central striker once again and gave the hosts the lead with his sixth goal of the campaign, turning home Saka’s header from close-range as he crashed into Trafford and the frame of the goal in the process.

Burnley were level nine minutes after the restart, Brownhill firing home after good work from Luca Koleosho led to the ball breaking for Brownhill, whose finish flashed in off Gabriel Magalhaes.

The goal stood despite a VAR check for a potential foul on Takehiro Tomiyasu but to Arsenal’s credit, they did not let the equaliser play on their minds.

In fact, the goal seemed to stun Arsenal back into life and Gabriel Martinelli broke clear only to fire straight at Trafford.

The lead was restored from the resulting corner as Saliba moved in front of Trafford to rise and head home Trossard’s delivery from close-range.

Zinchenko’s strike came from another Trossard corner as Dara O’Shea first headed the ball against his own crossbar before clearing into the path of the Ukraine captain, who finished acrobatically.

Burnley tried to find a way back into the game and were given some hope when substitute Vieira was dismissed, shown a straight red card by Michael Oliver for a high challenge on Brownhill.

Arsenal, though, saw out the remainder of the contest to join City on 27 points ahead of the champions’ trip to Chelsea on Sunday.

Oleksandr Zinchenko insists there would be “no point” continuing the season if he did not retain belief that Arsenal can win the Premier League title.

The Gunners ended a four-match winless run with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Tuesday night to breathe fresh life into their title bid.

Captain Martin Odegaard struck twice before Gabriel Jesus wrapped up the points in the first half, with a first league goal for Noni Madueke providing scant consolation for the Blues.

Despite the win, Manchester City remain firm favourites to claim a fifth crown in six years.

Zinchenko won four league titles at City before joining Arsenal last summer and on arriving at the Emirates Stadium declared Mikel Arteta’s side should be challenging for the trophy rather than aiming for Champions League qualification.

Now the Ukraine full-back maintains that stance heading into the final few weeks of the campaign.

“If you don’t believe, there is no point playing,” he said.

“So of course I do. When I had just arrived I said the quality everyone has here is incredible, the energy as well.

“I said everything is possible in this life if we’re going to work so hard. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

“It was an important three points for us obviously. In terms of our reaction, we bounced back quite good after the last couple of games where we dropped a lot of points.

“The win is so important for us to be back in a routine, for the mood in the dressing room and in terms also for our league position. So, let’s keep going.

“Unfortunately it is not in our hands, but you never know what can happen in this league. From us, we need to be focused on our performances. That’s it.

“We need to keep fighting, because we worked so hard during this season.”

Zinchenko was caught out for Chelsea’s goal on Tuesday night, with Arsenal’s defence once again unable to shut out the opposition.

Arteta’s side have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine league outings and Zinchenko admits that is not good enough.

“The manager has already said to us a couple of things we’ve done badly, what we’ve done good,” he added.

“Of course it’s not acceptable at this level to concede so many goals and we need to improve on that.

“But we’re human beings, we’re still learning and we’re such a young team as well, so I hope for the future we’re going to do much better.”

Defeat for Chelsea means they have now lost all six games under interim boss Frank Lampard and languish in the bottom-half of the table.

“We’re hurt and angry, every negative emotion you could think of,” left-back Ben Chilwell told the club’s official website.

“It was very poor. We knew that if we came here and played like that we would have to expect to concede three goals.

“We’re probably quite a nice team to play against, which has been the story of the whole season to be honest.

“It seems to be every team that plays against us has a good game. That’s not a coincidence. A lot of the performances recently have been below the standard we set. The first half was another example of that. We have to look at ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal have condemned the shining of a laser into the face of Chelsea forward Mykhailo Mudryk as a fan was arrested over the incident.

Television cameras picked up a light being beamed in the direction of the Ukraine international, who had been jeered after coming on as a second-half substitute for the visitors.

Mudryk had been close to joining the Gunners in January before instead signing for their London rivals and was targeted with the laser during game.

An Arsenal statement on Wednesday morning read: “An arrest has been made following the use of a laser during last night’s match.

“This behaviour is dangerous and totally unacceptable, and we will fully support the police with their enquiries. We will obviously take the strongest possible action.”

The PA news agency understands the Football Association will be investigating the matter and that the Metropolitan Police made a further three arrests at the game for ticket touting.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta concedes it is still too early to determine if William Saliba will be able to feature again this season.

The France centre-back has been absent for all of Arsenal's past four matches after sustaining a back injury in the first half of the Europa League last-16 second-leg draw with Sporting CP last month, which resulted in the Gunners' elimination on penalties.

There had been hope Saliba's recovery was advanced when seen on an exercise bike at training earlier this week, but it would appear such optimism was misjudged.

Saliba will definitely not face Southampton at Emirates Stadium on Friday, and now it would seem there is a chance he does not play again this season for the Premier League leaders.

And with their lead over Manchester City just four points having played a game more, the Gunners need all the help they can get.

"No big news, the picture hasn't changed from last week. Regarding William, we still need to wait a bit more. He's not progressing as quick as we hoped," Arteta told reporters.

"It's delicate and we want to be very certain when we push him that he is ready to absorb the load and the risk that we will take.

"At the moment it's not possible to do."

Arteta was then asked if Saliba could potentially miss the remaining weeks of the season, with the coach unable to put supporters' minds at ease.

"I don't know. It's a bit early to do [come to those conclusions]," he continued.

"Probably next week we will have more certainty. There is some evolution – he's doing more activity, but he's not ready yet to throw him on to the pitch at the level our sessions demand to compete in this league."

Arteta also had a disappointing update regarding Oleksandr Zinchenko.

The Ukraine international was absent for last weekend's 2-2 draw with West Ham due to a groin strain and, despite reports suggesting he was likely to be fit to face Saints, those claims now look wide of the mark.

"We will see with that one as well. It's not certain," Arteta added. "It's a muscular injury and it needs some time to heal, and we are not there yet."

Arsenal's next game after the visit of Saints is a trip to Manchester City on Wednesday, a game that could well decide the fate of the title.

Bukayo Saka "brings happiness to everyone else" in the England camp, according to Ben Chilwell, who joined Oleksandr Zinchenko in lauding Sunday's Euro 2024 qualifying match-winner.

Saka has enjoyed an outstanding season for Arsenal, playing alongside Zinchenko, with 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League as the Gunners bid for a first title in 19 years.

Only Erling Haaland (33) and Harry Kane (23) can top the winger's 22 goal involvements in the competition.

And Saka has continued that form on the international stage with England, most recently in a 2-0 win over Zinchenko's Ukraine at Wembley.

The 21-year-old produced a sublime cross for Kane's opener, then quickly went one better with a sensational long-range strike. He has 10 goal involvements in his past 16 games for England.

Like Chilwell and Zinchenko, Saka was previously used as a left-back when he broke through at Arsenal, prompting some bemusement from his England team-mate.

"I can't believe he played at left back when he can do that," Chilwell said. "He's such a great talent.

"I think everyone can see what he gives on the pitch, but he's one of the best people I've met in football as well.

"We see him on a daily basis around the camp, and he just brings happiness to everyone else. He's always smiling. He's a good guy to be around.

"And then he comes out on the pitch and delivers like that for us – an assist and a goal and ultimately wins the game. So, I'm delighted for him."

Zinchenko, used in a midfield role at international level while poor Vitalii Mykolenko suffered up against Saka, added: "He's an amazing player. We knew that.

"He's on fire at the moment, and I wish him that to the end of the season.

"I said already that there are no friends on the pitch; unfortunately, he beat me today, but I will take revenge."

Ollie Watkins could make history for Aston Villa when the in-form striker faces Everton this weekend and James Ward-Prowse has a David Beckham record in his sights.

Watkins has been on fire since the World Cup and the relegation-threatened Toffees will have to be on their guard when he leads the line at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Ward-Prowse gave Southampton a precious victory at Chelsea last weekend and will attempt to inspire another win in a huge battle between the bottom two away to Leeds United. 

As struggling Saints and Leeds go in search of precious points, you might need to shake your fantasy team up in order to start climbing the table.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform suggest four men who can ensure you have a profitable weekend.


Kenny Tete (Wolves v Fulham)

Fulham full-back Tete would probably not have been on a list of potential fantasy picks at the start of the season, but he really ought to be now.

The Cottagers have kept five clean sheets since the World Cup and Tete has played the entire match in all but one of those games.

Andy Robertson (five) is the only defender to have provided more assists in the top flight than Tete's four this season and Wolves will have to keep an eye on him marauding forward down the right wing on Friday.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (Leicester City v Arsenal)

Left-back Zinchenko scored his first Premier League goal to draw Arsenal level for a second time before they won 4-2 at Villa last Saturday.

The Ukraine international has become a popular figure since joining the Gunners from Manchester City, making an impact at both ends of the field.

Zinchenko has created an average of 0.71 chances per 90 minutes in leaders' Arsenal's quest to win the title and could be influential when they travel to take on Leicester City.

James Ward-Prowse (Leeds United v Southampton)

If Southampton are to avoid relegation to the Championship, captain Ward-Prowse must continue to step up.

He gave another demonstration of his free-kick prowess by earning managerless Saints a brilliant win at toothless Chelsea last Saturday.

That moved him one short of Beckham's Premier League record tally of scoring 18 direct free-kicks and it would be no great surprise if he goes level with the former England captain in a crunch clash at Elland Road.

Only Marcus Rashford (10) and Erling Haaland (eight) have scored more goals since the World Cup than the Saints skipper's five, so you might want to get him in your midfield.

Ollie Watkins (Everton v Aston Villa)

Another man who has been outstanding in 2023 is Watkins, who is loving life under Unai Emery at Villa.

The striker could become the first Villa player to find the back of the net in five consecutive Premier League games when they do battle with lowly Everton.

He has scored five of his seven top-flight goals this season since the World Cup and can keep his streak going at Goodison Park.

Brendan Rodgers saluted "game changers" Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko ahead of Leicester City's Premier League clash with leaders Arsenal.

The Gunners are two points clear at the summit with a game in hand on second-place Manchester City heading into their final 15 matches of the campaign.

Their quest for a first domestic title in 19 years has been boosted by the performances of former Man City duo Jesus and Zinchenko, who arrived at the Emirates Stadium in pre-season.

Jesus scored twice and provided two assists in Arsenal's 4-2 win over Leicester in August, though the Brazil international will miss the return fixture at the King Power Stadium on Saturday as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Meanwhile, the versatile Zinchenko has played 20 times under Mikel Arteta this term, and Rodgers praised the impact of both players.

"I think [Arsenal have] had a fantastic season up until now," the Foxes head coach said. "I think that you sensed right at the very beginning of the season when we played [them], they'd signed the two players that were a game changer for them in terms of mentality.

"When you've got the likes of Kieran Tierney on the bench – who's an outstanding player – because of Zinchenko playing, then it really shows you the quality of the squad that they have.

"But I think Zinchenko and Jesus coming in really will have helped, and given [them] that mindset. [William] Saliba coming in at the back and obviously the other players then improve, and so I think that they played very well on that day.

"Whenever we got close to them, we made mistakes, which gave them a cushion in the game. But you could see in that early part of the season that there was a good feeling around the place and that's continued through the season.

"I think Mikel [Arteta] has done a fantastic job with them, and, okay, still a long way to go – 15 games to go – but they've had a very, very good season so far."

Jorginho summed up his feelings after his strike forced a late goal to give Arsenal all three points at Aston Villa by simply saying: "That's [the] Premier League".

The Italy international hit a superb shot in the 93rd minute that struck the woodwork, before hitting Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on the back of the head and rolling into the net to put Arsenal 3-2 up on Saturday.

Gabriel Martinelli sealed a 4-2 win with a breakaway goal in the closing seconds as Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table ahead of Manchester City's trip to Nottingham Forest.

"That's [the] Premier League," Jorginho told BT Sport. "That's why it's the best league in the world. It's just beautiful."

Mikel Arteta's side were without a win in three top-flight games and fell 1-0 down early on at Villa Park to an Ollie Watkins goal, with Bukayo Saka's equaliser followed by Philippe Coutinho restoring the hosts' lead before the break.

Oleksandr Zinchenko levelled things again just after the hour, before Jorginho's shot forced a dramatic Martinez own goal to delight the visitors, with Martinelli adding an easy fourth on the counter after Villa's goalkeeper had come up for a corner.

"It was very important," Jorginho added. "After the last results we had and the start [today] it was not easy, we were not producing our game, and then we came to half-time, had a talk and we went back to doing the basics we need to do and we could change the game."

Zinchenko hailed the "amazing group" at Arsenal and stated his belief that they can "achieve everything" as they compete with his former club City in the title race.

"I think from this game I would like to say two things," he said. "First, we took an unbelievable lesson for all of us, we just need to believe until the very end and we can achieve everything.

"Like I said many times in the past already, this group is [full of] such amazing people, can achieve everything they want if we want to continue in this way, keep fighting, keep believing.

"Also, this reaction of us in the second half is perfect, I think that's the right way to go for the future games."

Emiliano Martinez's late own goal proved the turning point as Arsenal came from behind twice to beat Aston Villa 4-2 and boost to their Premier League title hopes.

The Gunners, who were replaced at the summit after losing to Manchester City in midweek, looked to be heading to another underwhelming result at Villa Park before luck went their way in stoppage time.

Ollie Watkins' clinical finish put former Arsenal boss Unai Emery's Villa in charge early on, and although Bukayo Saka soon equalised, the visitors trailed at the break thanks to Philippe Coutinho's sensationally worked team goal.

Oleksandr Zinchenko levelled again and that appeared to be as good as it would get for Arsenal, but Martinez inadvertently put into his own net late on and was then caught up the other end of the pitch as Gabriel Martinelli completed a dramatic turnaround.

Arsenal's limp start provided few clues of the jubilation to come as they were behind inside five minutes.

Matty Cash robbed Zinchenko and released Watkins, who created space with a step-over before lashing across Aaron Ramsdale into the bottom-right corner.

Saka hammered into the roof of the net to level when Ben White's cross was only partially cleared.

But Villa restored their lead in style just past the half-hour mark, Coutinho coolly slotting in from 16 yards after Emiliano Buendia dummied Alex Moreno's cut-back to conclude a brilliant move.

Mikel Arteta's side began to exert more control after the break restored parity again when Zinchenko drilled home with 61 minutes played.

When Martin Odegaard then missed a glorious chance to win it, Arsenal appeared to be heading for a fourth consecutive top-flight game without a win.

But a stoppage-time potshot from Jorginho cracked against the crossbar and ricocheted in off former Arsenal goalkeeper Martinez's head.

Martinez went up for a Villa corner in the hope of making amends, but Arsenal countered, allowing an already-celebrating Martinelli to knock into an empty net.

What does it mean? Arsenal show immense character

Even if they had not ultimately gone on to win, Arsenal would have been due plenty of praise for their attitude here as they twice they came back from a goal down.

In the end, that spirit to keep scrapping away made the win possible, and the victory will surely be a massive boost for their title push after a tricky few weeks.

It looked like Arsenal were going to be four without a win in the Premier League, but they are back at the summit for at least a couple of hours and likely feeling they got what they deserved.

Odegaard a worthy winner

Had his late miss been costly, it would have felt so unjust given the quality of his performance.

Odegaard was sensational here and at the heart of so much of Arsenal's best play. He made seven key passes, including one assist, which is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League game since April 2019.

Martinez antics come back to haunt him

Martinez had been acting up all day. He was routinely time wasting, seemingly trying to wind up Arsenal fans – there was something quite fitting about the late turnaround having him at the centre of it.

Key Opta Facts

- This was Arsenal's 14th Premier League away win against Aston Villa, their joint-best such record against a side in the competition (also 14 against West Ham).

- Arsenal have now conceded the opening goal in four of their last five Premier League games, one more than they did in their first 18 games of the 2022-23 campaign (3).

- Ollie Watkins has scored in each of his last four Premier League games for Aston Villa – it is his longest such run in the top four tiers of English football. Indeed, only Erling Haaland and Marcus Rashford (both 8) have more goals in the competition since the World Cup break than his five.

- Aston Villa’s Philippe Coutinho has now scored five Premier League goals against Arsenal. Against no other opponents does he have more (also five against Manchester City and Southampton).

- Only Erling Haaland (30) and Harry Kane (18) have been involved in more Premier League goals this season than Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (17 – nine goals, eight assists), while it is the second successive season he has reached double figures for goals in all competitions (10), netting 12 in 2021-22.

What's next?

Arsenal go to Leicester City next Saturday, while Aston Villa are at Everton the same day.

Emiliano Martinez's late own goal proved the turning point as Arsenal came from behind twice to beat Aston Villa 4-2 and boost to their Premier League title hopes.

The Gunners, who were replaced at the summit after losing to Manchester City in midweek, looked to be heading to another underwhelming result at Villa Park before luck went their way in stoppage time.

Ollie Watkins' clinical finish put Villa in charge early on, and although Bukayo Saka soon equalised, the visitors trailed at the break thanks to Philippe Coutinho's sensationally worked team goal.

Oleksandr Zinchecko levelled again and that appeared to be as good as it would get for Arsenal, but Martinez inadvertently put into his own net late on and was then caught up the other end of the pitch as Gabriel Martinelli completed a dramatic turnaround.

 

Oleksandr Zinchenko revealed he was laughed at by his Arsenal team-mates when he said the club could challenge for the Premier League title.

The Gunners furthered their grip on the top-flight summit with a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester United on Sunday thanks to Eddie Nketiah's late winner.

The result moves Mikel Arteta's men five points clear of Zinchenko's former club and champions Manchester City, with Arsenal possessing a game in hand as well.

Reflecting on another crucial three-point haul, the Ukraine international talked of encouraging his team-mates to enjoy the moment, after initially doubting their credentials.

"I said to the lads before the game, 'When everyone is going to retire, we're going regret that we didn’t enjoy enough'," he told Premier League TV.

"Everyone realises we have a lot of games ahead of us and we just go step by step. The mentality and spirit is right. That's the key.

"Of course, there is a lot of space to improve but we are [heading] the right way When I arrived, the quality I saw, I realised that we have everything to achieve the big things.

"I started to speak in the dressing room [that] we needed to think about the title. Some of them were laughing, but no-one is laughing now."

Zinchenko will get the chance to face off with old side City once again this coming week when the pair meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup, before Arsenal kick off February against under-fire Everton.

Oleksandr Zinchenko expects "true warrior" Gabriel Jesus to return "much strong than before" after his injury but has backed Eddie Nketiah to step up for Arsenal in the meantime.

Mikel Arteta's side will resume their Premier League campaign five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table after impressing before the World Cup break.

Arsenal host West Ham on Monday, but they will do so without Jesus after the Brazil forward underwent knee surgery following an injury in Qatar.

Zinchenko, who joined Arsenal with Jesus from Manchester City in the last transfer window, vowed his team-mate will return stronger as he encouraged the Gunners to step up in his absence.

"He's one of the leaders in our team. He's a true warrior," the Ukraine international told the club's official website. 

"I have no doubts he'll be back much stronger than before, knowing him personally and knowing his character. As a team, we need to stick together."

Nketiah is likely to lead the line in Jesus' absence after largely playing a back-up role within Arteta's squad.

The 23-year-old scored five goals in the final seven league games of last season, though, and Zinchenko believes he will prove a capable replacement.

"I have no doubts that Nketiah is going to do his job amazingly, and everyone trusts him," the defender added. "We have such a great group of people. We have this feeling of togetherness."

Zinchenko is no stranger to pressure after winning four Premier League titles with City, and he insists Arsenal will not run out of steam this season.

"I'm just trying to do my job as well as I can. On the pitch, I am giving my 100 per cent," he continued.

"The fans have welcomed me so warmly at this club. I can't be grateful enough for everything they have done and the support I've received from them.

"What I've seen in the past [is] if you have the right attitude and the right behaviour on and off the pitch, you can't be tired physically. You can be only tired in the head – everything is coming from your head.

"If you do all the things right in your routine – your sleep, your food, look after yourself well – and you do everything to prepare your body fresh, if you do everything right, you can't be tired physically."

Oleksandr Zinchenko has called on Arsenal to aim higher than a spot in the Premier League's top four, saying the Gunners' fans deserve to see them challenge champions Manchester City.

Arsenal hold a two-point lead over City at the Premier League summit following their 1-0 win at Chelsea on Sunday – their third successive victory in meetings with 'big six' rivals.

Zinchenko collected four Premier League medals before swapping City for Arsenal in July, and wants the Gunners to adopt the mentality of title contenders.

"It starts in the dressing room and it's on the pitch as well," Zinchenko said following the win at Stamford Bridge. 

"We are trying to push each other, we are trying to help each other. I think this is the right way to do it.

"We have a dream, we believe that we can achieve something this season. Let's see what is going to happen. 

"I can feel that this group of people, they are special. Starting from our staff and then all the people on our training ground, our fans, we believe in ourselves, every single game.

"I got used to hearing that Arsenal were top four. I would say that I really want to kill and destroy this stereotype. 

"We need to look further, and I think this team, this group of people, the fans, they deserve more. That's what we need to do. We need hard work in this and let's see at the end of season.

"You ask me if we can challenge Manchester City. Of course, they are an amazing team, but you never know what can happen in football. We need to go step by step with every single game."

Arsenal's return of 34 points from their first 13 games is their highest tally at this stage of a Premier League campaign – and is one more than Arsene Wenger's Invincibles managed in the 2003-04 season.

Arsenal named 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri on the bench for their clash with Brentford, where Fabio Vieira will make his first Premier League start due to Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko's absences.

Nwaneri could become the youngest player in Premier League history – surpassing Harvey Elliot's top-flight debut for Fulham, aged just 16 years and 30 days – should he be brought on by Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners were without captain Odegaard after he sustained an injury in training, with Vieira taking his place behind Gabriel Jesus to make his first league start since arriving from Porto in June.

Zinchenko was another absentee with Kieran Tierney in the starting XI at left-back, while Thomas Partey returned from a thigh injury to replace Albert Sambi Lokonga at the base of midfield.

"They are both injured and not available for the game. I don't know [the timescale]," Arteta told Sky Sports before kick-off when asked about Zinchenko and Odegaard. 

"We have the international break right now, so that's going to give us a break. It's two different things, but we don't know yet."

Ben White retained his starting position at right-back despite reports of injury concerns, with Takehiro Tomiyasu on the bench.

Lino Sousa and Reuell Walters were also included in Arteta's youthful matchday squad, and the Arsenal coach acknowledged injury problems have allowed the youngsters a chance to feature.

"We have the opportunity now to bring young players. We had some injuries in the last few weeks, and we are pretty short," the Spaniard added. "But opportunities come when other issues arise."

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