Tag Archives: Gabriel Jesus

Two lined up to replace Gabriel Jesus

Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.

If anyone thinks we are about to go out into the transfer market to buy a short term replacement for Gabriel Jesus, then they clearly don’t understand the changes Edu and his team have made at the club.

Gone are the days where we sign someone like a Lucas Perez because we are desperate. Gone are the days we loan in a Denis Suarez or Kim Kallstrom in the hope they will settle and do a job for the club in the short term.

The club will no longer waste money on short term solutions, or on players that the scouts do not believe have a long term future.8

The pursuit of Dusan Vlahovic last January shows how much we have changed.

When Juventus beat us to the signature of the Serbian, we did not panic. We kept our powder dry and secured our primary target the next summer – Gabriel Jesus.

Some might blame our lack of striker signing in January as the reason we failed to hit top 4.

Last season the target was always top 6. Failing to strengthen in January did not result in us missing that target.

And by not buying, it ensured we had the finances to complete the best transfer window for some time. And as a result we are top of the league.

If the right player is available in January, we will move for them. But they have to be the right player.

Someone that we were already looking at. Someone who we were considering making a move for in January. If that target does not exist, then we will not waste money on someone who we do not really want.

And the reality is, that target probably does not exist.

Top striker, performing week in week out for his team, will not make a move in January.

That leaves you targeting 2nd tier players, or those whose clubs want rid.

Ivan Toney is a name I see banded about a lot, but he is facing a 6-month ban for his gambling. The Portuguese lad that scored a hat trick the other day, no one had heard of him 7-days ago. And Dominic Calvert-Lewin is more likely to find himself alongside Jesus in the medical room rather than scoring goals in front of the North Bank.

In Martinelli and Nketiah, the club has two good options.

Eddie is hungry and chomping at the but to show he belongs.

As for Martinelli, he is a generational talent and already proved he can play down the middle. 10 goals in his debut Arsenal season as a striker.

The list of potential strikers is short, but the list of new wingers is long.

A wide forward was always our primary target this winter. We will continue that pursuit which will enable Martinelli to be used upfront.

Eddie and Gabi. The two men ready to replace Jesus.

Back the boys!



Jesus to rise again in April

Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself with the headline.

It is more likely that Gabriel Jesus will be back in March, but this year Easter is in April and sometimes a good headline for a bit of fun is more important than the truth!

Reports are that he will be out for around 3 months. Not sure on the accuracy as he probably has not made it back to Arsenal yet.

I imagine he will fly to Dubai at some point this week to meet up with the Arsenal medical staff. A decision will then be made whether he needs immediate treatment, or can return to Qatar to remain with the Brazil squad.

Depending on the length of his injury will influence Mikel Arteta and Edu’s thinking. So what are the title chasers options?

Eddie Nketiah

Following a good end to last season, Eddie was given a big new contract.

5 goals in 7 games (although only scored in 3 of them), was enough to convince the powers that be that Nketiah still had a future at Arsenal.

During that period, he also showed an improved work rate and ball holding ability. Two things Arteta demands of his forward.

But under different circumstances, would Eddie have been offered that new contract?

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dumped in January, Arsenal’s two other strikers were also coming to the end of their contracts.

Arsenal could not afford to be strikerless, so a contract had to be offered to either Alexandre Lacazette or Eddie Nketiah. In the end the Englishman signed.

Was the new contract just a result of circumstances? Arsenal would not have wanted to go hunting for 2 new strikers in the summer and Nketiah was the cheaper option of the two.

Nketiah stepped up in the closing stages of last season. Can he do the same in the middle of this?

New striker

In recent weeks, we have discussed whether we should be targeting a new striker or winger in January. Prior to the Jesus move, many agreed that it was a winger we had to focus on.

Jesus’s injury may have led some to change their mind and that we should now prioritise a striker.

Edu showed last winter that he has a long term transfer strategy and is unwilling to make short term moves. But top of the league at Christmas, he might have to show a more flexible approach and do what is best for the next 6 months.

The issue Edu and his team face is “what decent strikers are available in January?”

There is a dearth of top strikers out there, and anyone decent would probably be unlikely to move. It would also take a while for a striker from abroad to acclimatise to the Premier League, and by the time they get their feet Jesus could return.

Another option could be that we ensure we get the winger we need, which could free up Gabriel Martinelli to play up top.

Gabriel Martinelli

For a long time, I thought Martinelli’s future could lie playing down the middle rather than on the wing. He played much of his debut season for us as a central striker, scoring 10 goals.

He certainly has the attributes to replace Jesus. Martinelli is a fantastic finisher, shows good movement in the box and has fantastic work rate.

If Martinelli moved centrally, Arsenal could look at the returning Emile Smith Rowe to play left wing.

The England youngster has missed most of this season injured, but contributed 11 goals last season from the left hand side.

Smith Rowe would then be backed up by the planned winger we were targeting to sign in January.

Mykhailo Mudryk is the name on everyone’s lips.

Signing the Ukrainian and the return of Smith Rowe would leave us with the dual choice of Nketiah and Martinelli down the middle whilst not taking too much of a risk out wide.

Recall Balogun

Some will call for Folarin Balogun to be recalled from his loan spell in France. The youngster has been in fantastic form for Reims, scoring 8 goals in 15 games.

However, reports are Arsenal did not include a recall clause in the loan deal. That means he will remain in France for the duration of the season.

Personally, I would keep with our existing January plans and utilise Martinelli down the middle.


Gabriel Jesus goal drought should not worry Arsenal fans

In recent weeks, Gabriel Jesus has been labelled a “flop summer signing” and come in for criticism for his “lack of goals”.

Now admittedly, the loudest of this criticism has from Liverpool fans, who have taken to criticising Jesus in an attempt to defend Darwin Nunez.

But anyone thinking Jesus has been a flop clearly has little football knowledge.

Football is becoming more and more about systems rather than individuals, and you fit players to your system.

A world class player will struggle if the system they are being asked to play in does not play to their strengths. Likewise an average player can look fantastic in a system that suits him.

And Gabriel Jesus suits Arsenal’s system.

A mate of mine recently said “we should replace Aaron Ramsdale with Jan Oblak”, a perfect example of someone not understanding how important systems are.

Oblak is what we would call a “goal line keeper” – he likes to stay close to his line, and very rarely ventures towards the edge of his box, let alone outside. Petr Cech is another example.

Now Arsenal play with a very high line – Gabriel (the centre back one) and William Saliba defend the half way line.

To hold that highline, you need a keeper whose naturaly starting position is on the edge of his box, rather than his goal line. The sweeper keeper.

Oblak in the Arsenal line up would be horrificially exposed. Just like Cech was when we played for us with our higher line. And Leno.

These sort of keepers would flourish at someone like Spurs – or any Jose Mourinho team – where sides play defensively and with a “low block”.

Likewise Oblak is poor with the ball at his feet.

Whilst he might be the “better goalkeeper” in comparison to Ramsdale, he would not be the goal keeper we need.

Likewise Coady Gakpo.

Gakpo reminds me a lot of Nicolas Pepe – he needs space to run into and flourishes in a counter attacking side.

Arsenal do not play counter attacking football, Gakpo would struggle in our system in the same way Pepe did; Gakpo’s team mate Xavi Simons is a more suitable target.

So back to Arsenal and Jesus.

Arsenal are not set up to feed the ball to a single striker. We have a front 3 and look for them to press and rotate to score a goal.

Compare us to Manchester City.

Alfe Inge Haaland’s son is your old school centre forward. He has no interest in dropping deep, running the channels or assisting others. He just wants to get in the box and score goals.

So City are now set up to engineer the ball into positions for Haaland to score.

Jesus, meanwhile, is a much more mobile forward. He looks to drop deep, run the channels, and go wide.

This season, Arsenal are sharing the goals out amongst the front 3, rather than having a big, single goal scorers.

At the time of writing, Haaland had scored 46% of of Manchester City’s 37 league goals. Phil Foden has scored 16%.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus had scored 16.6% of Arsenal’s 30 league goals. Gabriel Martinelli the same.

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have both scored 13.3% of Arsenal league goals.

Haaland and Foden account for 62% of Manchester City’s goals; Arsenal’s front 4 account for 60%.

Manchester City’s 3rd top scorer is Kevin de Bruyne with 3 league goals. That is the same as Arsenal’s 5th top scorer – Granit Xhaka.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Manchester City have a single focal pointt, Arsenal are spreading the goals throughout the forward line.

What sums it up is we have 4 players in the Premier League top 15 goal scorers this season. Over 25% of the Premier League top scorers play for The Arsenal!

And assists show a similar trend.

Whilst Kevin de Bruyne is the Premier League top creator, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka are in joint second.

de Bruyne has assisted 25% of all of Manchester City’s goals, whilst Jesus and Saka are both at 16.6% – once again we share the load.

That means Arsenal have more of a goal scoring threat across the pitch – and are more creative.

Now it is all well and good your striker “contributing elsewhere” as long as others are scoring.

One problem we had previously was that Alexandre Lacazette would “put in a shift”, not score and we would draw a blank.

At the moment, whilst Jesus is not scoring, others are.

But likewise, the lone focal point is not perfect.

If Haaland is not scoring, he is doing very little else. City are basically playing with 9 outfield players until he comes alive in and around the box.

Haaland suits City, Jesus suits us.

Only worry about Jesus when Arsenal stop scoring.