The upsides and downside of Gabriel Jesus

There’s an upside and downside to everything. Gabriel Jesus’s start to his Arsenal career has been stellar, with four goals and three assists in seven Premier League matches. Only Erling Haaland has been involved in more goals this season.

But the downside is that he has been booked four times already.

Mikel Arteta has asked the Brazilian to run in behind defences and lead the press, and with a more aggressive style of play, than the previous number nine, and. This has its dangers.

At the current rate he will make substantially more blocks, interceptions, and tackles than Alexander Lacazette achieved last season.

Lacazettte didn’t get any yellow cards last season in the Premier League, but he fouled 32 times, made 27 tackles, blocked 11 shots, cleared 10 times, and made five interceptions.

Gabriel Jesus representing Brazil c:Granada Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Gabriel Jesus this season, besides the four yellows, he has made 14 fouls, seven tackles, six blocked shots and three interceptions. Given that Lacazette played 30 games in the Premier League last season, and Gabriel Jesus only seven, at the current rate, the difference will be phenomenal – and a sign why Arsenal are a changed side this season.

No wonder Alan Shearer keeps calling the Brazilian a game changer.

But on current form he will get around 16 yellows and miss matches. When people bet on any team on BetStation, most will study the form book and want to find who makes it for the upcoming game.

Jesus’s cards have all come in his last five games, with a foul against Bournemouth, a clash with Joao Palhinha against Fulham, dissent against Manchester United and a foul late in the game against Brentford. You would have thought at least two of those could be tempered by coaching and the Arsenal management.  

The danger for Jesus, is that he is straining to be part of the Brazil World Cup squad but wasn’t picked for the recent friendlies for his national side in France.

Jesus told ESPN after the decision: “‘There was (contact) after the squad announcement, yes. I respect the coach’s decision a lot, I respect Tite, the entire staff.

“As I said, I’m Brazilian, I’ll always root for the team. And I also respect the other players, who have a lot of quality. I’ll keep doing my best to have the opportunity again.

‘’What is in my control is my performance. I will always try to give my best, finish the plays. Today I had some chances that I could also improve a little more, I know. I’ve been training, trying to do my best.’’

But Brazil manager Tite said Jesus was in contention for the final squad, explaining that he wanted to see other players in various positions before choosing the final squad.

‘’This balance point is very difficult in a team, and we are looking for it. This number of attackers will not be determined. The versatility of the players is an important part.

‘’His move was seen as his opportunity to be the main man after often being on the bench at City and he has certainly taken it so far.”

The other danger is that Jesus will be straining at the leash to do well against Spurs, in the knowledge that one wrong tackle will see him suspended for the following game away at Liverpool – an important marker in Arsenal’s progress this season.

Maybe this is one of the reasons, Arsenal are rumoured to be looking at back-up strikers in the New Year window.