Gabriel Jesus: Versatility at its Finest
The campaign didn’t start well for Gabriel Jesus, as he had to undergo a surgery to mitigate a niggling issue on his knee, which ruled him out for a couple of weeks. In his absence, Mikel Arteta gave Kai Havertz the nod as a center forward in the Community Shield victory over Manchester City, before Eddie Nketiah got an extended run out leading the line over the next couple of games.
It must have been gutting for Jesus, watching from the sidelines as his teammates soldiered on without him, but he made his long-awaited comeback in the entertaining win over Manchester United, playing 14 minutes and scoring the goal that sealed the contest when he sent Diogo Dalot back to the Iberian Peninsula before slotting the ball calmly past Andre Onana. Gabriel Jesus wasn’t still fit enough to start against Everton, and he got more minutes under his belt coming to the pitch as a substitute.
Jesus first start this season, was in the center forward position against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, and he relished his comeback, scoring a sumptuous drive after controlling Leandro Trossard’s cross superbly, before drilling it past Benitez in the PSV goal. The Brazilian forward started his first Premier League game in the North London Derby, and spurned a glorious chance to make it 2-0, but was yanked off after 77 minutes, with a disappointing Nketiah still on the pitch. As bewildered as I was with that move, I wanted to attribute it to the fact that he wasn’t fully fit and his minutes still had to be managed.
Jesus was expectedly on the bench in the EFL Cup Third Round clash with Brentford, but when things got tough, Arteta needed to deploy his more experienced heads to calm things down on the pitch as the wind was on the sails of the home side, so Jesus was summoned to the pitch to put up a shift as Arsenal left the GTech Community Stadium with a narrow victory. Fast forward to the game against Bournemouth in the Premier League, Arsenal were sweating on the fitness of Gabriel Martinelli and Trossard was an injury scare, so Jesus’ versatility was on show, as he featured on the left wing while Nketiah led the line. It was from that position he latched onto Martin Odegaard’s dinked pass and struck the woodwork before Bukayo Saka scored the rebound on a platter.
It was RC Lens up next, but Jesus returned to familiar surroundings, leading the line as he scored the opening goal of the game after receiving the ball from Saka, picking his spot and placing it past Brice Samba in the RC Lens goal. Arsenal’s last match was an all-important clash against Manchester City, and with Saka injured, Jesus was asked to do a job on the right wing, with Nketiah strutting his stuff through the middle. Those that watched the game can attest to the amazing job Jesus did on that flank, making life a living Hell for Josko Gvardiol and providing very good support to Ben White on that wing, as Arsenal nullified their guests tactically.
Speaking to some Brazilian journos following his recent call up, Jesus touched on the fact that he can play anywhere across the front line to help his team,
“When I chose to move from City to Arsenal, Edu and Arteta spoke to me, and I made it clear that I’d like to play No 9. “This season has been different, we’ve had injuries and in the last few games I’ve played three up front.
“For a while, I thought I’d just say I wanted to play No9, but I’m here to help the team. “I’m blessed by God to have this talent and the versatility to play in all three forward positions. I prefer not to choose.”
“At Man City I played a lot with Sergio Aguero, and I was the one who went out more, ran more. “At Arsenal, I’m quite loose with Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka on my side. I swap a lot with Martinelli.”
This must be music to the ears of Arteta, as well as his teammates at Arsenal, as Jesus has proven that he chooses the team above his personal desires. He has always shown this versatility from his Manchester City days as he rightly stated, and like Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jesus has revolutionized the Arsenal attack, and his absence was hugely missed last season.
Thankfully, his injury worries are now behind him and he can focus on being the best he can for Arsenal as the club challenges yet again for the Premier League this season.
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