JESUS is well and truly back, and it’s not even Easter yet.
It was six months – rather than a measly three days – since Arsenal fans had seen their centre forward score a Premier League goal.
But Gabriel Jesus, on his first league start since a knee injury that had threatened to derail the Gunners’ title charge, grabbed a precious brace to restore their eight-point lead over Manchester City.
After the reigning champions had dispatched Liverpool 4-1 at the Etihad, the pressure was on Mikel Arteta’s team to respond.
And the tension was cranking up until Jesus won and converted a penalty just after the half hour.
Ben White’s goal just after the break settled the nerves and then Jesus jabbed in a Leandro Trossard cross.
The Brazilian came off to a standing ovation before an hour had elapsed, his work done.
Rasmus Kristensen pulled one back for Leeds, but Granit Xhaka's late header ensured it was just a blip on an otherwise excellent day for the league leaders.
On the day both sets of supporters remembered their former player David Rocastle, the pre-match talk was about the current Arsenal No7.
Bukayo Saka was left on the bench, with Trossard moving to the right and Jesus resuming centre stage.
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But it was Arsenal’s reshuffled defence, with Rob Holding in for the injured William Saliba, that soon came under the microscope.
The hosts were almost caught cold from the kick-off, as they had been in the home game against Bournemouth last month.
Aaron Ramsdale saved from Kristensen inside ten seconds, and half a minute later, Gabriel Martinelli had a goalbound shot blocked at the other end.
After that frantic start, the game settled into the expected pattern: Arsenal having most of the ball, Leeds sitting back and hoping to catch the hosts on the break with their lively front three.
Jesus had a chance to score in the tenth minute, but could not put a header from a Xhaka shot on target.
From then on the home side struggled to create an opening and it was the visitors who had two chances to take the lead just after the half-hour.
Crysencio Summerville’s shot was not firm enough to trouble Ramsdale much, but when the Leeds winger teed up Jack Harrison, the Arsenal goalkeeper made a sharper save.
Then came the breakthrough. Ayling committed early to his challenge on Jesus and at first glance, the penalty looked soft.
But replays showed the Leeds captain had made contact with the Brazilian’s knee and referee Darren England’s decision was not challenged by VAR.
It looked as though Gunners skipper Martin Odegaard would take the responsibility.
But Jesus claimed the ball and, after a little stutter in his run-up, sent the ball into the centre of the net while Illan Meslier dived right.
A few minutes later, the Leeds goalkeeper rushed out to close down Trossard, only for his clearance to drop to Martinelli.
The Arsenal winger sent the ball goalwards from distance, but Ayling just about managed to clear it behind.
But the visiting skipper was at fault again when Arsenal extended their lead less than two minutes after the break.
Martinelli beat him easily and crossed to the back post where Harrison had left White to send the ball in off the bar from close range.
It was just what Arsenal and their fans needed.
They roared as Jesus won the ball next to one of his own corner flags.
And then they took the roof off when he killed the game by finishing off a fine move.
Jesus received the ball from Holding and then slipped it to Trossard.
The Belgian – what a signing he has been, by the way – crossed back to the Brazilian, who jabbed it in for 3-0.
Meslier kept out a Martinelli header before Jesus was withdrawn. His afternoon had lasted less than an hour but it was a match-winning display.
Leeds were not quite done, but it was too little, too late.
Ramsdale made a good save from Brenden Aaronson, before Kristensen hit a shot badly off target.
But moments later, the Dane had another effort which was helped past Ramsdale by a deflection off Zinchenko.
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The goal caused a bit of Arsenal anxiety on and off the pitch.
Not for too long, though. A lovely pass by Odegaard found Xhaka, who headed in the fourth.
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