Gabriel Jesus’ signing in the summer of 2022 was one of the crucial ingredients in Arsenal’s ability to return to competing for the Premier League title. The Brazilian was an instant hit at the Emirates, scoring five goals and providing five assists in his first 14 outings.
Despite missing nearly three months after the World Cup due to injury, he was still among the team’s top five goal scorers in all competitions in 2022–23.
Anyway, let’s fast forward to this season. Arsenal are in a position to challenge for the Premier League title. But statistics suggest that the Brazilian attacker is struggling to regain his initial Arsenal form; his impact on the squad has suddenly diminished this season.
So far this season, he has only scored three goals in seven games, which is concerning given that he scored five goals and five assists in the first 12 league Arsenal games last season.
Why have his contributions in front of goal, either by scoring or assisting, dropped?
The first reason could be because he was injured to begin the season.
Second, his troubles could be the result of him not usually playing the No. 9 role; he has spent the majority of his time on the pitch this season as a winger; he only started as the striker against Chelsea. Nketiah is the one who’s frequently led the attack. Last season, the ex-Manchester City star led the attack well, which was crucial to its success. As the key player in attack, he was able to get the most out of Saka and Martinelli; if he didn’t score, he assisted; if he didn’t assist, he created chances, which explains how he was able to score and assist on so many goals.
The player himself recently stated his intention to only play as Arsenal’s No. 9. Arteta must offer him more opportunities as a striker in the upcoming games. He might just recover his mojo and become the one Gooners look to when they need to see something happen in Arteta’s attack.
Should Arteta put Jesus back into the centre rather than on the wing?