Gabriel Jesus made an impressive debut. I doubt I could even come close to describing the ideal first few minutes from a new player to what we witnessed today.
This was Arsenal’s first preseason game, so let’s bring ourselves back to reality before we go crazy. There are still four before the important stuff starts, which I am thankful for given the performance’s shortcomings.
However, to bring the attention back to Gabriel Jesus, there was a notable change in the performance of one player rather than the entire team when the Brazilian came. Jesus scored the first goal for the Gunners by playing on the right side rather than through the centre.
Taking the ball and rushing the opposition, Jesus drove forward before playing a low forced pass to Eddie Nketiah, whose weighted return was perfectly positioned for Jesus to pick up and score superbly. Not long after, Jesus had a chance to score again when Nketiah’s shot hit the crossbar and deflected off a Nurnberg defender.
When Jesus arrived, Nketiah sprang to life. His lonesome, unsupported performance in the first half. Emile Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson, and Nicolas Pepe all played with more selfishness and without thought.
It was a forced first half that cost the Gunners on the break because of sloppy passes and wild efforts that only produced a few corners. Everything changed when Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus entered.
Not to mention this was a side without several offensive players like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and new boy Fabio Vieira. Perhaps a side that could see progressive midfielder Youri Tielemans arrive this summer.
But very few people have ever discussed Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus’ partnership. One or the other. That was what I believe most, including me, expected.
Jesus would start in the Premier League and possibly the later cup stages of both domestic and Europa League games. With Nketiah coming off the bench and starting the cup and Europa League group stage games.
It’s possible that this is still the case, but what we saw today had the potential to be something more. The potential for these two to play together.
Jesus was on the receiving end of the passes and plays of Nketiah today, however, we know all too well that the former Man City forward is one of the most creative in the business regularly dropping big numbers of assists.
Movement in the opposition box has been something incredibly lacking from the Arsenal sides of the past three seasons. Now is the time that this ends, and two forward capable of finishing, deceiving and creating could be an exciting formula for the upcoming campaign.