New Arsenal signing Gabriel Jesus made an instant impact on his debut on Friday night, scoring twice, but it was his exciting link-up play that got Mikel Arteta crowing.
The Brazilian netted less than 90 seconds after coming on at half-time for Nicolas Pepe. The £45m signing fired home into the top right corner from a tight angle to announce his arrival. And he scored again on 75 minutes to help turn the friendly game with Nurnberg around.
The Gunners ran out 5-3 winners in Germany and it was Jesus’ intensity which sparked Arteta’s men into life.
The former Manchester City man, it was a assumed, would become Arsenal’s new No.9 with Eddie Nketiah his understudy. However, Arteta paired the duo together in the second half at the Max-Morlock-Stadion. And the pair looked like they had been playing together for years.
Arteta has rigidly stuck to a 4-3-3 formation at The Emirates, but Friday’s friendly gave an insight into the flexibility the Spaniard is planning.
Jesus, from wide right, combined well with Nketiah to drill home. He also brilliantly flicked in Gabriel Martinelli’s cross and had a hand in the two own goals.
But it was the link-up play with Nketiah which delighted Arteta.
“The understanding with Eddie as well has been really good,” said Arteta after the match. “It’s something that we want to have as an option this year especially with five subs. We have other alternatives and it’s great that they can do it together,” he said via FootballLondon.
Gabriel Jesus ‘feeling good’
Jesus, who was afforded his first minutes of pre-season, was also excited at the prospect of playing with Nketiah.
“It was so good to play with Eddie,” he said. “We’re both together and make short passes that’s good. Two strikers there is a little bit different. We have a lot of qualities and it was so good to play with him.”
Jesus, who played 41 times for Man City last season, was also happy with his fitness levels.
“I’m feeling good,” he told the club’s website. “Sometimes it’s hard because I had more than 20 days without running, without doing anything, just trying to get some sleep with my new baby and my girlfriend!
“I’ve just come to be part of this amazing club, amazing team, and then to win together,” he added. “I believe a lot in the project at this club. I can’t wait to play, at our amazing stadium.”
Arteta plans more signings
Arteta also admitted that Arsenal were still on the lookout for new signings. The Gunners boss was asked specifically about Youri Tielemans of Leicester City.
“We never talk about players that are not ours,” said Arteta. “We can still improve the team in the market and we’re going to try to do it, but I won’t go into any specific names.”
While Arteta also refused to rule any players out of his plans.
Pablo Mari, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson could all depart this month or next, but all featured against the Bundesliga side.
“What I said to them on the first day is that they are Arsenal players,” added Arteta. “Things change dramatically in football from one day to another and you have to be prepared for that. If any of those players want to take the opportunity, the door is open and they will have to earn it. It’s no different to any other player in the squad.”