Is Jesus the messiah Arsenal have been looking for?

So it would appear that Woolwich are set to pull off one of the biggest transfer deals of the window to date in signing Gabriel Jesus for a reported £45million from Man City.

Is he a good acquisition for the Gooners?

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Certainly forward players were always likely to be a priority for a club that has released it's 2 primary strikers over the last 6 months leaving them with just the inexperienced Eddie Nketiah to lead the line.

However, "leading the line" hasn't really been something that Jesus has ever shown he is particularly capable of doing.

Take for example the fact that during the 2021/22 season he played as a centre forward in 14 of Man City's Premier League fixtures including in 13 out of their final 25 league games and he managed to score in just 2 of those matches! Hardly setting the world on fire ...

Given that Man City went into last year without an out and out centre forward, you might expect Jesus to have gotten a better run out in that position but actually his game time as centre-forward last season was the joint lowest it has been in any of the 5 full seasons he's played for City since joining them. Obviously Pep Guardiola isn't convinced of the Brazilian's abilities in that regard either...

SeasonPremier League mins played as CF
2017/181441
2018/19911
2019/201767
2020/211866
2021/22911

Jesus EPL minutes played as a centre forward

Versatility of course is one of Jesus' qualities and undoubtedly helped him gain minutes while a member of a star studded City squad. He played 952 mins as a right sided forward player last year (more mins than as a centre forward) and scored big goals against Liverpool, Chelsea and indeed Arsenal from that position.

However, his chances of game time from that position seem slim given that arguably Arsenal's best player in Bukayo Saka prefers the same role. In fact, Saka who appeared in every Premier League game for Arsenal last season started just 5 of those matches away from the right-wing (all were on the opposite flank) and during those games Arsenal managed just 4 goals and 7 points. Trying to accommodate Jesus on the right by moving Saka would come with similar risks.

Indeed, it makes the Gooner's alleged pursuit of Leeds forward Raphina, another player who prefers to operate off the right even more bizarre! How many right wingers were they planning on starting in games next season?

Perhaps though the most damming statistic about the abilities of Jesus as a striker come when you look at his goals scored vs expected goals scored.

For those not in the know, expected goals scored is a statistic used to anticipate the number of goals either a player or team would usually be expected to score across either a match or indeed a whole season based on factors leading up to an attack that ultimately ends with the player taking a shot. For example, whether the shot was from inside or outside the box, whether it was on their stronger or weaker foot, the circumstances of the attack itself, etc, etc.

In the past 5 years, Jesus has failed to equal or better his expected goals tally in every single Premier League season.

SeasonPremier League goals scoredExpected Premier League goalsDif
2017/181315.37-2.37
2018/19712.62-5.62
2019/201421.02-7.02
2020/2199.65-0.65
2021/22810.15-2.15
Total5168.81-17.81

Jesus EPL goals scored vs expected goals by season

To put that into contrast we can look at the records of the other Premier League players who have scored 50 or more goals in the same period and compare it with their expected goals over those 5 years.

Only Raheem Sterling with a negative difference of 4.37 in goals vs expected goals and former Gooner Lacazette who did maintain a positive difference until his woeful final season when he netted just 4 league goals, have scored fewer goals than they would be expected to over the last half a decade of football and neither of them come close to recording the negative difference of 17.81 that Jesus managed.

PlayerEPL goals since 17/18Expected EPL Goals since 17/18Dif
Salah118112.2+5.80
Kane10599.14+5.86
Vardy9183.22+7.78
Sterling7882.37-4.37
Mane7774.52+2.48
Son7557.09+17.91
Aubameyang6866.41+1.59
Aguero6257.80+4.2
Lacazette5454.18-0.18
Mahrez5038.23+11.77

Other Top 10 goal EPL scorers over the last 5 seasons and their expected goals

The net result is that across a season you can expect Jesus to leave 2 or 3 expected goals out on the pitch while by contrast most of the top forwards in the league are delivering a goal or 2 more than statistics would suggest.

If those stats continue into next year then it would equate to at least a 4 or 5 goal swing in favour of Arsenal's league rivals. It might not seem much but having your main goal threat score when the odds are against them could well be the difference in winning or losing a match and in a league as tight as the EPL, every point counts...

Stats complied from transfermarkt and [understat] (https://understat.com/league/EPL)

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Excellent content @talesfromthecrypt, he really isn't all that as the Gooners paint him to be. Kane and Son have got excellent data, I think Kane's data would have even been better if he had a better start last season.

I really enjoyed reading your post but as always, I hope Spurs follow your lead and win something other than the Audi cup.

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Yeah Kane was negative 3.69 for last season based largely on his poor start. From April onwards he was essentially breaking even so hopefully he’ll carry that form on.

Son was plus 6!

Only KDB had a better expected goals vs actual goals in the EPL last year than Sonny.

All Arsenal’s forwards struggled last year. I guess you can interrupt that in different ways but it suggests that overall build up play is good. If you get a clinical finisher next season then they’ll be an improvement. Unfortunately there aren’t many around…

I wish Chelsea could have another prolific striker like Drogba or Diego Costa, it's been long we had that. I enjoy the fact that everyone on the team contributes goals but having one player that rarely disappoints like Kane and Agüero.

Yeah not for lack of trying when you consider some of the players they've had there in recent years! Just hasn't worked out be interesting to see how Sterling performs if he does make the move

Here's the thing though, Arsenal doesn't need a traditional striker. In fact, if you watch Harry kane's game(which you do), you'll have noticed he has evolved his football to suit modern requirements of a "striker".

Jesus role is going to transcend simply scoring goals because he will not be our "number 9". He's just going to be a part of a forward three that press high.

WHat Arsenal is looking for is an all round footballer, rather than a "striker". This is why Lacazette was preferred over Auba.

Jesus will actually be massive and while his goalscoring numbers overall aren't impressive, you need to keep in mind that he wasn't always a regular starter at City, and he also has one of the best minutes to goal contribution in the history of the Premier league.

Also, he is a much better addition to our team than Richarlison is to Spurs.

Those of us who have watched Kane since the very early part of his career would disagree with the mainstream view that he's evolved. Coming through the ranks he always looked more like a number 10 than an out and out striker. It's more revolution than evolution in his case.

Plus despite that change in role over the past couple of years he’s still capable of scoring every other game. That’s what I call complete or an “all round footballer”.

Jesus’ goals per min in the EPL over the last 2 years are 235’ and 229’ respectively not exactly elite. To put that into context, Jesus was level with Chris Wood in terms of goals per minute in the 20/21 season. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think Burnley had Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, et al to supply him with those chances?

Keep in mind that despite Jesus' talent, he was in and out of the city squad because he was signed as a squad rotation player. He never had a decent run.

If youlook at his goal and assist returns for all the matches he starts, you will find that it is not as bad as many claim it to be.

Also, keep in mind that he was never used as a Striker at City and he will also not be used as a Striker at Arsenal. In fact, at City, he spent most time on the flank or played as a false 9.

Never really rated him anyway as surely Arsenal want a top striker and this is the equivalent of a journeyman boxer who is there to compete but gives you no frills or extras.

It’s always interesting to see how a guy coming from a bigger more successful club where he was a squad player reacts to being the main man at a club that really needs him to step up and deliver week in week out

There's a misconception about what Arsenal needs. Arsenal doesn't need a "top striker". In fact, right now, most teams have evolved beyond a "top striker.

Arsenal needs another forward to compliment our young forwards that can match their intensity and push the team to the next level.

jesus isn't just a shiny new toy, he's actually the player that Arsenal needs based on his numerous qualities including pace, ability to press, big lungs and finishing, amongst other traits.

doubters have one job , doubt !

Excellent data my friend. I'm glad spurs didn't sign him now. Up the pigeon

I don't think there was any genuine interest from us. The relationship between him and Edu seems to have been the driving factor in signing for them and I bet City were happy to get £45mil for a squad player whose contract expires next year

He always gave 100% though but I suppose Richarlison has his place on Brazil team

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You were never going to sign him, don't kid yourself

No we went for the guy who took his place for Brazil instead.

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I guess the difference with Jesus and Richarlison is we are signing another team’s first choice striker as a backup, they are signing someone’s back up as their first choice.

You really the opinions of the comedians at AF TV serious?

You lot own them not us! 🤣🤣🤣

lol no sane person takes them serious. They're a comedy show that you just watch to unwind.

Kind of like Mark Goldbridge for Manchester United. Just pure comedy

Friend of mine was at the an Arsenal game reporting for a national radio show. Some fans thought he was one of the people from AFTV and he was getting loads of abuse. From arsenal fans at that.

Best to never take anything most football fans say seriously. As a group we tend to be a little emotional!

I wish I could bookmark this article, okay I’ll reblog it . Just Incase Jesus proves all Thomas’ wrong ! COYG!!

Oh it will undoubtedly mean he'll score 30 goals next season!

Back in 2019, I remember I wrote a blog (you can probably still find it) stating Liverpool had no chance of winning the league. I'm still yet to receive any thanks from Jurgen Klopp for tempting fate!

Anyway, right or wrong, what I find enjoyable is stating an opinion and ultimately that's what gets people interacting with one another as you can see from the comments on this blog.

Oh it will undoubtedly mean he'll score 30 goals next season! — yes! I see that as a possibility! All things being equal if Injury doesn’t strike he sure can rake up 30 goals in all competition next season.

Anyway, right or wrong, what I find enjoyable is stating an opinion and ultimately that's what gets people interacting with one another as you can see from the comments on this blog.— exactly! Opinions spark up reactions , it’s the engagements we live for on here.

I barely rate Jesus because when Aguero left city,I felt he was going to step in and reproduce Something close to a Lethal striker...I feel arsenal needed a big name after Auba left and Jesus is perfect...He has worked with the Coach before so it would be an easy integration into the team

Definitely an advantage that he knows Arteta and has a relationship with Edu too

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Excellent content @talesfromthecrypt, he really isn't all that as the Gooners paint him to be. Kane and Son have got excellent data, I think Kane's data would have even been better if he had a better start last season.

I really enjoyed reading your post but as always, I hope Spurs follow your lead and win something other than the Audi cup.

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Excellent content @talesfromthecrypt, he really isn't all that as the Gooners paint him to be. Kane and Son have got excellent data, I think Kane's data would have even been better if he had a better start last season.

I really enjoyed reading your post but as always, I hope Spurs follow your lead and win something other than the Audi cup.

Posted using SportsTalkSocial


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That's not fair @belemo, everyone on Twitter is annoying regardless of which football team they support 😀

I know but I'm suppose to hate Spurs fans more 😆