Premier League • England

Gabriel Jesus poised to hand Arteta ‘massive blow’, as pundit tells Arsenal what they must not do

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal have been told what they must not do despite Gabriel Jesus being on the brink of handing Mikel Arteta a major blow.

The Brazilian marksman has been everything Arsenal fans could’ve hoped for and more since arriving from Man City. Jesus toiled away for years out on the right wing at the Etihad. However, since his £45m switch to north London, he has been deployed exclusively in central areas.

Jesus notched his fourth goal of the campaign in the 3-0 cruise over Brentford on Sunday. Jesus menaced the Bees backline throughout and duly earned the player of the match award from UK broadcaster Sky Sports.

Aside from goals and assists – of which he’s provided four and three respectively – Jesus has also helped to set the tone defensively.

He is the first line of defence and appears to relish hustling and harrying defenders almost as much as scoring and assisting.

However, that does come with one notable drawback – yellow cards.

Jesus picked up his fourth booking of the campaign on Sunday, meaning he’s now just one away from an automatic one-game suspension.

Gabriel Jesus suspension inevitable

Thankfully for Arsenal fans, their next domestic fixture is against Tottenham. Jesus will therefore be available to feature against Spurs barring injury, though few would bet against him picking up another yellow in such a hotly-contested derby.

Should be find his way into the referee’s notebook, Jesus will be suspended for the visit of Liverpool on October 9.

The amnesty for yellow card-related suspensions does not kick in until half of the fixture list has been completed.

That means Jesus must go without a booking in his next 12 league matches, a virtual impossibility given he has four yellows in seven matches.

Jesus is therefore almost certain to miss at least one match through suspension, something pundit Noel Whelan described as a “massive blow” to Arteta.

However, speaking to Football Insider, Whelan outlined why Arsenal must not try to tame Jesus’ game, even if it means he misses matches through suspension.

“There’s the saying – ‘it’s a striker’s challenge’,” said Whelan.

“We’re not as blessed as midfielders or defenders in that department because they’ve been taught to defend all their lives.

“It just shows the effort, willingness, desire, and aggression he has. He wants to go and close down defenders and win the ball back for his football team.

“I don’t think you’d ever want to change that. You just don’t want to take that away from his game.

“It’d be a massive blow even to lose him for one game just because of the player he is for Arsenal.”

Suspension will have silver lining

If Gabriel Jesus does receive a one-match ban for five yellows, Arsenal will at least have a fit and firing Eddie Nketiah to fill the void.

The 23-year-old shone at the back end of last season, something that turned what looked a certain exit into a lucrative new five-year extension.

Nketiah committed his future to Arsenal until 2027, though starts have been hard to come by since Jesus arrived.

The new number 14 has one start to his name this season, coming in the Europa League against FC Zurich. His six league appearances have all come from the bench, totalling just 88 minutes.

Regardless, he showed last season he can be clinical in front of goal when given a chance. When Jesus does pick up his fifth yellow, Arsenal will turn to Nketiah to ensure it isn’t the massive blow Noel Whelan fears.