Arsenal need to seriously consider signing an upgrade for Gabriel Jesus in the January window with one former Liverpool favourite hitting out at the Brazilian for making the Gunners look like they were playing “with a man down” in their defeat at Aston Villa.
The Gunners have started the season brightly and dreams of a possible end to their 20-year Premier League title wait are bubbling among fans. However, Arsenal did fall to what was only their second loss of the season on Saturday evening as Aston Villa edged a 1-0 victory to claim an eighth successive home win of the season and move themselves within a point of Arteta’s side.
That loss for Arsenal saw Liverpool take over top spot, with Jurgen Klopp’s side showing why they are showing signs of returning to their old ‘Mentality Monsters’ ways, having come from behind – yet again – to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Defeat for the Gunners at Villa Park came courtesy of John McGinn’s well-taken shot on the turn after just seven minutes. And while Arsenal created a raft of chances of their own, the Gunners were guilty of several poor misses with Martin Odegaard and Jesus among those culpable.
Arteta had the most bizarre excuse you’ve ever heard for those misses after the game, although it was the all-round struggles of Brazil striker Jesus that most infuriated Steve Nicol.
The Gunners are being linked with a new frontman ahead of the January window, with Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney among those Arteta is reportedly keen on.
Arsenal told they need an upgrade for Gabriel Jesus
And the former Liverpool man reckons that Jesus was so poor against Villa that he might Arsenal look like they were playing with 10 men. Ouch!
Speaking to ESPN, here’s what Nicol had to say on Jesus: “I’ll tell you what, they need a centre forward. I remembered sitting thinking where’s Jesus?
“And I’m talking about an Arsenal side who I thought were dominating, particularly in the second-half.
“It was all about defence for Villa. But we never saw Jesus.
“You can’t win the Premier League title with a man down, let’s put it that way. Because Jesus did absolutely nothing to help his team.
“And when you’ve got to break down a tight defence that’s on top of their game, you’ve got to produce. And he, never mind he didn’t produce, he just disappeared.”
Despite Nicol’s claims, it’s uncertain if Arsenal have the budget needed to land either Osimhen, rated at a staggering £120m, or Toney, given the £80m fee on his head.
Arteta has also stated on a couple of occasions that he is happy with his striker options at Arsenal with the Gunners also able to call upon Eddie Nketiah.
Jesus has six goals in 16 appearances so far this season, while Nketiah has five goals from 21 – neither of which is what you would call prolific.
And while Nicol certainly makes a fair point, Arteta’s focus is likely to be on strengthening his midfield in the January window, amid lingering doubts over the futures of Jorginho, Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey.