Manager confident his side can cope with challenges but league leaders must find a way to prosper without injured key forward

When Gabriel Jesus limped from the Lusail Stadium field on 2 December, having played 64 minutes for Brazil in a game against Cameroon they could afford to lose – and eventually did – the effect on his club bordered on catastrophic.

Thursday brought the regrettable sight of Jesus on crutches at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground. “Progressing”, followed by a series of motivational emojis, was the one-word social media message. After Mikel Arteta said he was unwilling to set a timescale on a return from mangled medial knee ligaments, the Arsenal manager next veered into the dangerous territory of attempting to take the positives.

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