Arsenal have defied expectations in recording one of the greatest starts to a Premier League season this term, and summer signing Gabriel Jesus lies at the heart of the club’s fight for success.
The 25-year-old, purchased from current Premier League champions Manchester City in a £45m deal, has been an illustrious addition to a burgeoning squad.
Popping up with five goals and seven assists in 18 appearances across all competitions, Jesus has been sensational, and the statistics only tell half the story.
And according to Gunners legend Lauren, the Brazilian talisman’s unique flexibility as a frontman will pay dividends as manager Mikel Arteta fights to dethrone his former mentor Pep Guardiola.
On the Chalkboard
Speaking to The Mirror, the two-time Premier League winner swatted away concerns of Jesus’ current goal drought – he has not found the net in five league matches – instead illustrating his technical prowess and tenacity at the front of the ship.
Jesus is the glue that holds it together, the cog that whirs the machine; without him, Arsenal would splutter and City would likely forge ahead to a fifth league title in six years under their sagacious Spaniard boss.
Lauren reaffirms this notion, detailing Jesus’ impact against Chelsea on Sunday when Arsenal won their third successive league encounter at Stamford Bridge. He said:
“The way he didn’t score but the fact he came and dropped into a deeper position, he attracted two or three [Chelsea] players and created the space for the [Arsenal] midfielders to attack it.
“It was absolutely brilliant; the way he moved, his mobility, the way that every time he makes a run the defenders think, ‘this guy can score at any moment’. If you keep him fit until the end of the season, we’re going to be there [in the title race].”
Despite failing to score since the side defeated rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the start of October, Jesus has contributed with three assists in the consequent five matches, with Arsenal winning four and drawing just once, away to Southampton.
Indeed, FBref states that the former Man City whiz boasts astronomical ratings when compared to forwards across Europe’s top five leagues this season, such as the top 5% for assists and pass completion, the top 6% for dribbled completed, and the top 5% for interceptions, which aren’t your typical numbers for a no.9.
Strikingly, the “menace” sits only in the top 37% for non-penalty goals this term, but this is not detrimental to his game as he still has bagged five goals in all competitions; his overall impact is extraordinary, and without him, Arsenal would not sit on the same pedestal, and neither would his teammates.
Guardiola once lauded the maestro as “fantastic“, and it’s clear to see why the City manager was so fond of the striker’s glistening technicality.
Arteta must be heralded for instilling a title-challenging mentality into an unrefined football team, for several years now exhibiting quality and class in spouts, but failing to ignite consistency of note.
So you can forget about your Thomas Partey’s and William Saliba’s – with the Champions League eluding the Emirates Stadium for six years now, the increments made must be applauded, with Jesus right at the centre of the progress.