By Martin Graham | 30th Sep 2022
New lease of life
Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus says he is enjoying a new breath of fresh air, playing under Mikel Arteta and that he decided to leave Manchester City this because he was due for a change after five years under Guardiola at the Etihad stadium.
Jesus joined Arsenal from City for an initial £45 million this summer after having to play second-fiddle for most of his time at Manchester.
The Brazil international started just over half of City’s Premier League games last season and when he was selected was often used as a wide forward, with Guardiola preferring to utilize a false nine.
He is now the focal point in Arsenal’s attack and is reveling in his preferred centre-forward role.
Speaking about his time at Manchester City and his current stint with Arsenal, Jesus detailed the difference between both instances.
“The thing was the way [Guardiola] understands football and what he wanted,” Jesus told ESPN Brasil. “Then it was up to you to accept it or not. If you don’t accept it, ‘thank you’ and let’s go for another challenge.
“I accepted it for a while, but there came a moment when I said: ‘I want another thing for myself.’ I thanked him, ‘thanks for everything,’ he understood, and we moved on.
“It is different here at Arsenal. The football is different — different players, different ways to play.
“At City, it was different. The striker didn’t touch the ball that much, you see this by watching the games. And, when it was time to touch the ball, it was not the striker, because [Guardiola] ended up putting a midfielder to come closer. OK, fine. So, I decided to change.”
Jesus has made a strong start to life at the Emirates, scoring four goals and adding three assists and playing his part as Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table after seven games.
The 25-year-old says much of his adaptation is down to Arteta’s coaching methods, with the Spaniard well familiar with the Brazilian forward during his time as Guardiola’s assistant at Man City.
“I talked a lot with Arteta about Arsenal’s style,” Jesus added. “He knows me, I know him, I understood what he wanted from me. Now, I’m free on the pitch, playing football with a smile on my face and trying to do my best all the time.”
Arsenal and Jesus will be looking to continue that strong start when the Gunners host Tottenham in a fierce North London derby on Saturday.
“All the players are talking about the derby,” Jesus added. “It’s all about the derby. ‘You’re going to see what a derby is. Derby, derby…’”
“I’ve had some experience of derbies, like when I played for Palmeiras, City and Brazil. So, I know what a derby is, but I never played one Arsenal versus Tottenham here. So, it will be my first and I hopefully to get the win, not only in my first but all the derbies that I will play.”
Gabriel Jesus has not only been brilliant on the pitch but has equally shown a positive mindset altogether. He has already grown to be a fan-favourite and leading the Gunners to victory in a game like the North London derby will only see his stock grow even further.
Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer
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