Mikel Arteta confident ‘amazing’ Gabriel Jesus will end eight-match run without an Arsenal goal
The Gunners sealed top spot in Group A with a 1-0 victory, Kieran Tierney’s first-half strike proving to be the winner, though Arsenal’s failure to score a second goal meant it was a nervy conclusion to the match as they held on.
Jesus had a huge chance in the opening minutes of the second-half to double the lead as the ball fell to him in the box, but his effort from close range was turned over the bar.
The Brazilian, who captained the Gunners against Zurich, has now gone eight matches without a goal, a stuttering run of form after his flying start to life at the club following his move from Manchester City.
His overall impact on Arsenal’s game is evident even when he is not getting on the scoresheet, though Arteta admitted the run is playing on Jesus’ mind.
“It does bother him for sure,” Arteta told BT Sport after the match.
“Knowing him, when he scores two he wants to score four. Today he had a couple of good chances as well, but what he generates for the team is amazing.
“Last week he gave three assists, today he was involved in every action again. The goals will come.”
Arsenal had to match PSV’s result against Bodo/Glimt to top the group and they did just that, ensuring they will not have to face a team dropping down from the Champions League in the play-off round.
Instead the Gunners receive a bye straight into the last-16, with the Arsenal boss relieved to not have those two extra matches on the calendar early next year.
“Job done, it’s never easy to win that many games in Europe and we’ve done it,” Arteta said.
“I don’t think it was the prettiest game that we’ve played, but we managed to win the game.”
He added: “Today was really important. We know how important it’s going to be, especially when other teams are playing in February.
“And winning helps winning. Today’s atmosphere in that dressing room after a win is much better than after a loss. That’s the focus of the team.”
Takehiro Tomiyasu limped off late in the match, only 15 minutes after being brought on, in a worrying sight ahead of the World Cup later this month.
“We don’t know – he felt something and we didn’t want to take any risks,” Arteta said.
“With the amount of games we are playing, it’s part of what happens. It can happen in training, it can happen in games, and unfortunately it happened to Tomi today.”