Talking Tactics

New signings: Jesus can propel Arsenal to success

By Adrian Clarke 7 Jul 2022
Gabriel Jesus

Adrian Clarke on how the Brazilian will improve the Gunners following his move from Man City

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Gabriel Jesus (ARS)       

For the first time since he arrived in English football, Gabriel Jesus will enjoy the status of being the main man following his move to Arsenal, and it could transform him into a 20-goal-a-season striker.

In each of his five Premier League campaigns, the Brazilian forward has always scored between seven and 14 goals.

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Judged in isolation, this looks like a relatively modest return, but the 25-year-old was rarely afforded the opportunity to build rhythm or match sharpness at Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola handed Jesus an average of 50.6 per cent of the total match time on offer across those five years; a figure that should increase markedly at Emirates Stadium, fitness permitting.

Jesus' last five seasons
Season Goals Assists Mins per G/A PL rank
2017/18 13 3 104 8th
2018/19 7 3 102 5th
2019/20 14 7 97 4th
2020/21 9 4 158 31st
2021/22 8 8 117 9th

The Brazil international is expected to line up as a centre-forward in Arsenal colours, a position he rarely occupied for City in 2021/22.

As part of their title-winning side he performed tremendously well on the right of Guardiola's attack, delivering over 80 per cent of his goals and assists from that position.

That said, Jesus should have no problems reverting to a natural striker's role, particularly in a Gunners side coached to freely rotate positions during the build-up phase.

Jesus in Arsenal training

When he makes runs into the wide areas, he can deliver accurate crosses for team-mates to attack.

Four of his eight assists were right-wing deliveries and, inside the box, Jesus has razor-sharp intuition.

Timing his runs well as a matter of course, he is also quick to react to loose balls inside the danger zone.

Stats inside the box 2021/22
Player* Shots on target/90 Player* Touches/90
Salah 1.7 Salah 10.1
Ronaldo 1.4 Sterling 9.9
Jota 1.2 Jesus 8.6
Jesus 1.2 Grealish 8.0
Vardy 1.2 Jota 7.7

*Minimum 20 starts 

When you study Jesus' stats on a single-match basis, he compares favourably with the best forwards in the division for effectiveness in the box.

Only three Premier League forwards manufacture more shots on target from close range, while Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are the only players to have had more touches inside the opposition penalty area.

The hardworking Brazilian, who also presses defenders diligently, will undoubtedly offer Arsenal added penetration in the final third.

Last season Alexandre Lacazette frequently dropped deep in search of the ball but his replacement is far more effective when making runs beyond defenders.

Mikel Arteta has signed a dangerous and intelligent forward who should thrive in an environment where the team is built around him.

Jesus has the talent and attitude to vastly improve Arsenal as an attacking force.

See: Talking Tactics: New signings for 2022/23

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