The summers follow one another and are not alike for Arsenal. Almost a year ago, the Gunners hit rock bottom. Rolled by Manchester City (5-0), they were in last place in the Premier League standings. A year later, it is with the leader’s costume that they are preparing to receive Fulham on Saturday. This radical change is already the reward for a very clear collective progression over the whole of last season. But also of a summer recruitment which did not take long to bear fruit. Gabriel Jesus is its most striking symbol.
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The Brazilian has had a dazzling start to the season. Already because it is decisive. With two achievements and three assists on the clock, he was directly involved in more than half registered by Arsenal on these first three days (5 out of 9). With the way. His marvel of striking wrapped on a step to find the opposite corner against Leicester (4-2) marked the spirits. Like his delicious control oriented to initiate the action of the first London goal scored by Martin Odegaard last week, in Bournemouth (0-3).
“He gives us so much in the game”
There were other classy gestures from Jesus, and not just when it came to wrapping up or handing out the caviars. By his technical finesse and the intelligence of this move, the Brazilian also gave another dimension to the collective of Arsenal. « It’s not just his goals, he gives us so much in the game toounderlined Odegaard after the victory in Bournemouth. He’s coming down to combine, he’s brilliant in a lot of phases of the game. It’s exciting to play with him and we’re really lucky to have him here. »
Mikel Arteta is at the origin of this marriage party on very good bases. The Arsenal coach knew the qualities of Gabriel Jesus perfectly, having seen him evolve on a daily basis for two seasons at Manchester City, between 2017 and 2019, when he was Josep Guardiola’s assistant. Arteta quickly made it his priority to fill the void left by the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona last winter, then the return of Alexandre Lacazette to Lyon this summer. He easily convinced his managers to shell out 52 million euros to snatch the Brazilian striker from Manchester City.
« Such a contagious mentality »
The sum does not necessarily seem disproportionate for a Brazilian international of only 25 years old who already benefits from a very solid experience with five years spent in the Premier League, within a club as demanding as Manchester City. But Gabriel Jesus was not the key player in Josep Guardiola’s training. That’s what he became when he became Arsenal’s most expensive summer transfer window signing. His ability to turn a corner in leadership to establish himself as a driving force for the Gunners could legitimately raise questions.
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It is this facet that the Arsenal coach has discovered since he began a new cohabitation with his player. « He has a totally different role compared to his former clubexplained Arteta just before the start of the season. It takes time to adapt. But he did it incredibly well, we’re surprised how quickly he pulled it off. He’s a player with huge talent, a mentality that’s so contagious, and he’s going to bring us a lot. »
The revealer of autumn
The winning state of mind is certainly the most difficult to perceive. But that’s what’s most crucial, especially for Arsenal. Beyond quality, this mentality has also failed the Gunners to compete with Premier League leaders in recent years. « He scored two goals, he gave up two and he’s still disappointed in the dressing room because he says he could have scored foursaid Arteta after the victory against Leicester. It’s the level, it’s the mentality. If you want to take it to another level, you need that mentality. »
Jesus’ start at Arsenal has been promising on all levels. But these promises will have to be kept over time. In this sense, the hardest part begins for the Brazilian striker. The Gunners’ calendar was quite favorable to start the season, awaiting the first big highlight against Manchester United next weekend. It will thicken considerably in the fall. With, in the space of a month, shocks against Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. That Jesus displays the same performance in these big meetings will be of crucial importance for Arsenal. It is on this condition that the Gunners can really dream of finding the heights.
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