Arsenal’s Jesus out of World Cup with knee injury, could miss PL restart

Gabriel Jesus will miss the rest of Brazil’s World Cup campaign with a knee injury
and is a doubt for the Premier League restart with Arsenal later this month.

The striker picked up the injury during Friday’s 1-0 defeat against Cameroon and came off in the 64th minute.

Left-back Alex Telles, who also limped off injured in Brazil’s final Group G match with a right knee problem, has also been ruled out of the tournament.

Brazil left-back Alex Telles is also out for the tournament
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Brazil left-back Alex Telles is also out for the tournament

A statement from the Brazilian FA read: “As announced by the Brazilian FA after the game against Cameroon, players Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus underwent tests on Saturday morning. Accompanied by the Brazilian National Team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, they underwent an MRI on the right knee that confirmed the injuries and the impossibility of recovery in time to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“The coordinator of the Brazilian National Team, Juninho Paulista, is in contact with the sports directors of Arsenal and Sevilla to define whether Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus remain with the squad in Doha to continue the treatment or return to their clubs.”

Brazil are already sweating over the fitness of Neymar, who has missed their last two matches with an ankle problem.

Jesus picked up a right knee injury in Brazil's 1-0 loss to Cameroon on Friday
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Jesus picked up a right knee injury in Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Cameroon on Friday

The news is a problem for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who restart their Premier League campaign on Boxing Day when they host West Ham.

Jesus is the second Arsenal player to prematurely leave his World Cup squad, as defender Ben White left England’s group in Qatar due to “personal reasons”.

Analysis: Can Arsenal afford to lose Jesus to injury?

The impact of Jesus at Arsenal following his £45m move from Manchester City has been clear to see both on and off the pitch.

Many in the Arsenal squad have spoken about how the Brazilian striker and Zinchenko have brought a “winning mentality” from City over the summer – while Jesus, as a centre forward, has been the Gunners’ player for the big moment with five goals and six assists in his opening 14 games.

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But if Jesus was to start missing games for Arsenal then it would fall on Eddie Nketiah to take up the mantle up front. With five goals in seven league games at the end of last season, the 23-year-old showed that he can start regularly for the Gunners – but he has struggled to challenge Jesus for a starting spot since the summer.

Nketiah has managed three goals in seven non-Premier League games so he hasn’t lost his sharpness, but he is yet to find the net in 12 Premier League games from the bench.

While an impressive Saturday Night Football cameo against Fulham in August – where he played alongside Jesus in a front two – demonstrated the English striker’s the ability to impact games, the No 9 position is another area where Arsenal cannot afford to lose their top talent.

Brazil’s potential route to the World Cup final

Brazil players celebrate their 1-0 win over Switzerland
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Can Brazil win their first World Cup in 20 years this winter?

Confirmed round of 16

Monday November 5
Brazil vs South Korea – Kick-off 7pm

Potential quarter-final

Friday December 9
Japan or Croatia vs Brazil or South Korea – Kick-off 3pm

Potential semi-final

Tuesday December 13
Netherlands/USA/Argentina/Australia vs Japan/Croatia/Brazil/South Korea – Kick-off 7pm

Arsenal’s next fixtures

December 26West Ham (H), Premier League – kick-off 8pm

December 31Brighton (A), Premier League – kick-off 5.30pm – live on Sky Sports

January 3Newcastle (H), Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports

January 9Oxford United (A), FA Cup third round, kick-off 8pm

January 15 Tottenham (A), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports

January 22Manchester United (H), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports

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Miedema rescues Arsenal point in ‘wild’ draw at Juventus

Arsenal fought back to draw 1-1 against Juventus in their Champions League match in Turin.

The Gunners, missing several players including injured England forward Beth Mead, fell behind early in the second half when Lineth Beerensteyn slotted Juventus ahead following a swift counter-attack.

Vivianne Miedema headed in from a corner to equalise just after the hour, but Jonas Eidevall’s side could not craft a late winner.

Arsenal, who had been looking to extend their 100 per cent start, stay top of Group C, two points clear of Juventus and three of Lyon, who won 3-0 away to Zurich.

Lineth Beerensteyn gave Juventus the lead on the counter attack
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Lineth Beerensteyn gave Juventus the lead on the counter-attack

The Gunners made a positive start, with Miedema leading the attack as Mead is set for an extended spell out after she ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday’s Women’s Super League defeat to Manchester United.

Stina Blackstenius was played through by Frida Maanum, but saw her rising shot skim the top of the crossbar.

Juve goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who spent a couple of seasons with the Gunners, then made a fine save after Swedish forward Blackstenius was sent clear again shortly before the break. At the other end, Arianna Caruso put the ball wide in first-half stoppage time.

Arsenal pressed again early in the second half as Australian Caitlin Foord tested Peyraud-Magnin before Lotte Wubben-Moy’s header was cleared off the line.

Sofie Junge Pedersen of Juventus Women fights for the ball with Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal during the UEFA Women's Champions League group C match
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Sofie Junge Pedersen of Juventus fights for the ball with Miedema

But it was Juve who broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when Dutch forward Beerensteyn burst through on a counter-attack to slot past Arsenal ‘keeper Manuela Zinsberger.

Arsenal responded to equalise just after the hour when Miedema headed in from a corner. Miedema sent another shot on the turn over and during stoppage time almost got Foord in on goal, but the Juventus defence held out.

Walti pleased to end ‘wild game’ with point

“I think in the end, the result is maybe fair,” Arsenal midfielder Lia Walti told the club’s official website. “It feels good because we knew that we just didn’t want to lose that game. Ideally, we would have won it and I think we had enough chances.

“But it’s football. They had one chance and they took it. I think the response after that was really good. I felt like there were 10 minutes after half-time where we struggled a little bit, where it was a tough battle in midfield as well, but then I think we fought ourselves back and deserved the goal. And in the end, if we were a bit luckier in front of the goal, we could have maybe scored a winner.

“In the end, it was a bit of a wild game. It was very transitional. So it was hard to stay calm, but it was good to sometimes step on the ball and just go back again. And I think our subs today really helped us to get the draw.”

What’s next?

Arsenal’s next game is the weekend after next when they host Everton on December 3 in the Women’s Super League, kick-off 2pm.

The Gunners’ next Champions League game is the return group stage fixture against Juventus at the Emirates Stadium, kick-off 8pm.

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Mead a World Cup doubt after ACL rupture | Hayes: Start putting players first

England and Arsenal star Beth Mead has suffered an ACL injury which puts her World Cup participation in doubt.

The Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner will visit a surgeon in the coming days but is expected to be out for an “extended period”, Arsenal have confirmed, with next summer’s World Cup just eight months away.

The forward, who has scored 37 goals in 102 appearances for her club and 29 goals in 50 for her country, sustained the injury during Arsenal’s 3-2 loss at home to Manchester United at the weekend.

“We can confirm that Beth Mead suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in our match against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on Saturday,” an Arsenal statement read.

“Unfortunately, this means that Beth is set for an extended period on the sidelines. She will see a surgeon in the coming days, after which further details on timescales will be established.

“Everyone at the club will now be supporting Beth and working hard to get her back on the pitch as soon as possible.”

Mead has scored three goals in the WSL and two in the Champions League for the Gunners this season, which follows her starring role in England’s triumph at the Euros during the summer.

She was named player of the tournament and claimed the Golden Boot with six goals, and last month was named Ballon d’Or runner-up.

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Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Arsenal and Manchester United

England will be back in major tournament action next summer at the World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand, from July 20.

It has been an extremely challenging month for Mead, who recently defended herself over comments attributed to her in an interview with The Guardian in which she was quoted as saying the lack of diversity in the England Women squad was “a coincidence”.

Speaking after England’s 4-0 friendly win over Japan earlier this month, Mead told Sky Sports News that the article was “unfair” and not a “true reflection” of herself.

Mead withdrew from the England squad the following day due to family circumstances, having won her 50th cap for the Lionesses in the win against Japan.

News of Mead’s injury comes less than a week after Sky Sports aired a feature on Inside the WSL that showed female footballers are up to six times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than their male counterparts.

West Ham’s Jessica Ziu, Aston Villa’s Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Tottenham duo Kyah Simon and Ellie Brazil are just some of the players to be ruled out this season alone.

Alexia Putellas has been ruled out of Spain's Euro 2022 campaign
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Alexia Putellas missed Spain’s Euro 2022 campaign due to an ACL injury

The issue also came to the fore during the summer’s European Championships. Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas missed the tournament after rupturing her ACL just days before Spain’s opening game. Simone Magill also picked up the same injury in Northern Ireland’s opening game of the tournament against Norway, just days after signing for Aston Villa.

France striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto also limped off in their second group game against Belgium, having also ruptured her ACL. She had been one of the favourites to win the Euro 2022 Golden Boot.

Hayes: ‘Outrageous’ players are put in such positions

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Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes says she is concerned about player welfare after losing forward Pernille Harder after she was injured with Denmark whilst on international duty.

Speaking before news broke of Mead’s injury, Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes said player welfare needed looking at, adding that it is “time to start putting players first”.

Erin Cuthbert has faced a busy run with club and country, while Chelsea have confirmed midfielder Pernille Harder will be out for “a significant period” after undergoing surgery for a hamstring injury suffered on international duty with Denmark.

“I’ve made it clear that player welfare needs looking at for the players,” Hayes said.

“I mean Erin Cuthbert went away with Scotland, played on Saturday and they played her again less than 48 hours later on a Monday. I think it’s outrageous that players are put in these positions.

Denmark have kept their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive
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Pernille Harder faces a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury

“Yes, there has to be an international calendar and yes I know there are going to be changes so that they can perhaps be with international [teams] for longer periods and then with their club for longer periods, because it’s really the travel and the in between which cause a lot of problems, I would say.

“For someone like Pernille she always wants to do everything, and it’s not the fault of anybody sometimes with these injuries. They come for many different reasons.

“But I certainly feel players playing in World Cups, European Championships, being given two weeks’ rest in between seasons is unacceptable for them, forget clubs players and countries, we need to start putting the players first.”

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Neville: Arsenal best team so far, but Man City will win title by 15 points

With the first part of the Premier League season coming to an end this weekend due to the World Cup break, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville gives his verdict on the big talking points in the top flight.

Arsenal are a class act but City will ease to title

I said last week that I thought Manchester City would win the title by 15 points – I’m going to hang in there with that prediction.

But Arsenal are making me doubt that. They’ve been fantastic, they are the class act of this first 14 games. We want a title race, we want there to be competitiveness in the Premier League and not for one team to run away with it every single season.

At this moment in time, Arsenal are putting up a real fight. They’re the best team in the league in the first 14 games of the season by a mile.

I was there for their very first game of the season at Crystal Palace on that Friday night in August and the first 25 minutes were electrifying between those front players and they’ve actually maintained that all the way through. They’ve got a spirit, a togetherness and great football.

I like the fact that [Gabriel] Jesus isn’t going to score 25 goals. We won titles quite a few times at United without having players that scored that many goals. That wasn’t a barometer of winning a title, I don’t think.

Sometimes it happened, don’t get me wrong. We had [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, a [Dwight] Yorke, a [Andy] Cole or a [Wayne] Rooney – that happened. But ordinarily sometimes players didn’t get past 15 goals but the team was better.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Wolves against Arsenal

What Jesus has done up front there has made the team better. They’re fantastic in all departments really at the moment.

I don’t think they’ll win the title, I think City will. I do think they will get into the top four but I still think it will be interesting come February and March with Arsenal where they end up.

I still think there’s an element of they’ve still got to prove themselves. I will say it time and time again until they show me differently.

But what they’re demonstrating at this moment in time is that they’re the best team in the league, the most consistent team in the league, and from where they were at the end of last season – well done to Mikel Arteta, it’s a brilliant job that he’s done.

Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal's win at Wolves
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Mikel Arteta celebrates Arsenal’s win at Wolves which takes them five points clear

Should Arsenal strengthen in January?

The recruitment’s been fantastic and well done to the club for holding their nerve through a difficult moment where they could’ve easily put more pressure on Mikel.

Other managers may have lost their job, he had been there for three years when they didn’t get into the top four last season. They’ve got the right players in and all of a sudden it looks like it’s knitted together.

Will Arsenal strengthen in January? What risks does that bring? Do you strengthen to boost the squad or do you strengthen to boost the first eleven? If you do the latter, do you upset two or three players who are currently in the team?

Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring for Arsenal vs Wolves
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Arsenal have been consistent in their squad but do they have the depth?

It’s a conundrum that is going through the Arsenal board’s mind in this moment in time. I’m not sure any other clubs will do business. I don’t think City will do business nor any other clubs at the top. There’s a sense that Arsenal may do something in midfield.

They’re in for a really good season. They have to make sure they don’t come out of the World Cup as an unfortunate story of the World Cup, as all these big Premier League clubs do with six, seven, eight key players going to Qatar.

This could be players going to the final and coming back tired or getting injured and being out for two or three months.

Man Utd nowhere near their rivals but players like Ten Hag

I think Erik ten Hag has done very well in the first part of his Manchester United career.

It is still very early, and he’s had a difficult hand. Picking up from the end of last season and following a difficult transfer window, the situation of Cristiano Ronaldo putting a transfer request in and the situation has developed over the last two or three months.

Harry Maguire has been out of form and as his captain, he’s had to take the armband off him in some ways by leaving him out of the team. He’s had a number of things go against him and the results at the start of the season were terrible.

Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag looks on at Craven Cottage
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Manchester United’s head coach Erik ten Hag looks on at Craven Cottage

After the Brentford game, you felt the world was going to end for Manchester United with Liverpool on the Monday Night Football the week after.

But where he went up massively in my estimations was that week building up to facing Liverpool. He fronted up all the press, he stood there and answered all the difficult questions and he came out in the difficult moments when people were asking constantly about Ronaldo and Maguire, and he’s fronted it with real steel. He’s come through it with real strength.

What I would say is, he’ll have also realised what big a task he has. Manchester United have spent over £200m in the transfer window and yet they still don’t look like a team that’s spent £200m – similar to Chelsea.

It’s still a team that plays inconsistently – not just from match to match but within games. Some of the football we saw in pre-season, the flowing football, the rhythm in midfield… they still look like a team with a default setting back to the past.

Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring Man Utd's opening goal
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An inconsistent Manchester United have ended the first part of the Premier League season in fifth

They’ve now got Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro in midfield so United should be dominating matches with that combination, without a shadow of a doubt they should be dominating the ball. But they still look preferable in counter-attack mode.

I’m not sure why that is because I’m sure Ten Hag’s training programme through his time at Bayern Munich with Pep [Guardiola] and at Ajax is all about possession. They can’t dominate the ball, so I don’t know what it is.

Their win at Fulham didn’t come about because of the performance; it came through a moment. What Erik ten Hag will want to see in the next six to eight months is the performance level rise enormously as United are still nowhere near their rivals in the league when it comes to performance both in and out of possession.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Fulham against Manchester United

The players are now playing for him on the pitch so he’s won that battle in the dressing room. That was really important to win and he has come out of that as the top dog. The club have backed him and the players have responded to that as he’s taken on some big characters.

He can now reflect on what’s happened, but after the break he will still have to go back to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. That’s a six or seven-year-old partnership despite Manchester United spending fortunes.”

Potter under pressure at Chelsea but project will take time

I got battered by Chelsea fans at the start of the season but I’m not surprised about what’s happened with them. I think it’s got all the hallmarks of a project that will take time.

When you look at what happened at the start of the season, there’s no doubt that was handled with crassness with how the transfer market was being handled. It might take Chelsea a couple of years to recover from that transfer window if they don’t get it right.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter during the Premier League match at the Amex Stadium, Brighton.
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Chelsea manager Graham Potter is under pressure already at Stamford Bridge

I think Graham Potter is under big pressure at this moment in time but I hope that they see it through as what we’re seeing is the culmination of Abramovich leaving, the new owner [Todd Boehly] coming in and sticking his chest out, going around Europe thinking he can play Football Manager.

I’ve seen it before at Manchester United – it doesn’t tend to work. I’ve always thought Chelsea have been a very smart, efficient, clinical operator when it comes to recruitment.

I think Chelsea are one of the big stories at the start of the season. They will improve, but there will be questions asked. A bit like at United, they may start to ask: where’s the £250m gone? That quarter of a billion quid.

Chelsea fans will be in a position whereby they’ll have to test if their ‘Abramovich-reactive’ nature of the past 20 years is still there as part of this new ownership, while the new owners are going to have to prove if they are more forgiving and rational, looking more at longevity.”

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