GOAL correspondent Charles Watts has questioned the ‘confidence’ of Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus following a lacklustre period for the star striker.
The Gunners have made a blistering start to the current campaign, topping the Premier League and their Europa League group, respectively.
With 13 victories from 15 matches, boss Mikel Arteta will be delighted with his team, and Jesus, joining the Emirates Stadium for approximately £45m, has absorbed the talismanic role with aplomb, clinching five goals and assists apiece across his first 14 fixtures for the club.
However, the 56-cap ace now endures a five-match goal drought across all competitions, but it is the dip in performance that has caught Watts’ attention.
Watts discussed Jesus’ lowly performances on his YouTube channel, and pondered over “fatigue” and “confidence” playing a pivotal role in the below-par run for the forward.
He said (08:09): “Jesus could have put the game to bed yesterday, he had chances. I think he maybe is beginning to look like no surprise because he’s been an absolute Energizer Bunny since he arrived through the door, has not stopped working, has not stopped running.
“But I just look at him yesterday and what he’s been like in front of goal the last couple of games, maybe snatching at chances a little bit. And again, I just think possibly, I mean confidence will be certainly a part of that.
“But I just wonder if sort of fatigue, physical and mental, might be coming into it again.
Finishing his critique, he added (08:44): “Yesterday, I think he was just struggling a little bit. Confidence, as I said, was probably just a little bit down. I just think mentally as well, fatigue might have been creeping in.”
Our thoughts on Jesus and his recent performances…
Jesus made a stunning start to life in London, with five goal contributions after just three Premier League matches – including two goals and two assists in his second game, against Leicester City.
But Watts’ criticism is indeed fair, and against Southampton, the 63-goal Premier League marksman produced a rating of 5.8/10, as per SofaScore – the lowest of any player on the pitch for either side.
And in the preceding league match against Leeds United, he managed a mediocre 6.3/10, his second-lowest performance for the north London club since his switch from Manchester City.
Jesus will return to form; every player sees standards somewhat slip, here and there.
This will not worry Arteta, but what will be of concern is the lack of rotation available upfront.
Young academy graduate Eddie Nketiah is a good goalscorer but Arsenal will require genuine star quality up front to continue to compete at the highest level, and according to The Sun, this may be a notion that will bear fruit in January, as Arteta looks to strengthen his flourishing side further.