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Gabriel Jesus says Arsenal will not suffer burnout despite mammoth schedule

Gabriel Jesus believes suggestions Arsenal’s players could experience burnout this season are unfounded and says he has no fear of fatigue during a campaign in which he could play more than 60 games for club and country.

Eyebrows were raised last week when Mikel Arteta said his team, in relation to their workload and Bukayo Saka’s inclusion in European ties, should take the example of top players who “play 70 matches, every three days, make the difference and win the game”.

Arteta has made minimal changes to his starting XI in the Premier League wherever possible and has not been shy to field big names in an untaxing Europa League group but Jesus believes hitting his manager’s target would not fatigue him.

“Of course not,” he said. “I’m doing good recovery after the games: eating better, sleeping better, enjoying life in the Arsenal T-shirt a lot. So I’m ready to play 50, 60, 70 games per season.”

Jesus could start against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday as Arteta seeks the draw that would guarantee top spot in Group A with a game to spare and avoid the complication of an extra knockout round in February. In theory he could play around 70 times this season if both Arsenal and Brazil, for whom he hopes to feature at the World Cup, enjoy successful campaigns. Such an eventuality is hardly unknown: in 2019-20 he played 61 matches, whether as a starter or off the bench, in all competitions for Manchester City and the Seleção.

The question regarding overwork has cropped up in part because Jesus, who scored five goals in his first nine Arsenal games, has drawn blanks in his most recent five. Those figures do not tell the full story of his contribution but he was happy to address the topic. “That’s happened before and I’m pretty sure in the future it’s going to happen again,” he said. “I don’t want it to be like this, of course. I want to improve, I want to work and then next game, I try again. And I’m 100% sure I will score.”

Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are two other players leaned on heavily by Arteta and Jesus smilingly referred to them as “machines”.

The Football Association confirmed on Wednesday that it would not be taking further action regarding an alleged comment made by Jordan Henderson to the Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhães when Liverpool visited the Emirates Stadium this month. “Whilst the FA is entirely satisfied that the allegation was made in good faith, it is equally satisfied that there is no case to answer,” its statement read.

Asked whether the matter was closed from Arsenal’s perspective, Arteta said: “I said from the first day that it’s a decision that relies totally on the FA and they made that decision so that’s it.”

On Gabriel’s point of view, he said: “That’s something to ask to Gabi but the decision is made.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko remains sidelined by a calf injury and Arsenal will wait to see if Marquinhos has recovered from sickness before deciding if the winger can face PSV.