Six months to the day since he scored against Sp*rs in the north London derby, Gabriel Jesus drew a line under his scoring drought, extended by a long spell on the sidelines, by nonchalantly tucking home a penalty to break the deadlock against Leeds United.
The Brazilian, whose quick feet had drawn the spot-kick from Luke Ayling, then added to his tally in the second half, arriving in the box to poke home a low cross by Leandro Trossard. It was the finish of a man released from the burden of his own thoughts. He slid to his knees, saluted the crowd and smiled as he was mobbed by teammates.
A furrowed brow temporarily returned when he was substituted five minutes later – Mikel Arteta choosing to save his striker’s legs for tougher matches ahead – but by the time the Gunners had wrapped up a comfortable 4-1 win, he was able to reflect on an afternoon full of positives.
“It was so good playing again, starting again and feeling the atmosphere of the crowd,” told Arsenal.com.
“The supporters come all together, and the way they support me is massive.
“I just want to say thank you to them for supporting me until the end. It’s not easy when you’re seeing your striker not scoring goals but they always support me.”
He added: “Obviously, every player wants to play the full 90 minutes, I think I’m ready to play more minutes.
“However, when the ref said to me I was going off, I was a little bit disappointed because I want to play, but of course I respect the manager and the other players as well. So, it was 60 minutes, but I enjoyed it a lot.”
In his post-game press conference, Arteta couldn’t hide his delight. Prior to the game, the Spaniard noted how much ‘looser’ his summer signing had been in training after extra time spent building up his fitness. He wasn’t wrong.
“I’m delighted for him,” said the boss. “They were all clapping for him and he’s been working so hard the last four or five months with a lot of support obviously from the team and the staff.
“Today he deserved the chance to start and he grabbed the opportunity with a lot of conviction and scoring two very important goals.”
“I love challenges,” said Jesus. “Obviously with an injury and when there’s surgery involved, it’s not easy but if God gives me this challenge, it’s because I can survive and come back stronger.
“I remember day one of rehab, working hard and thinking about the way to come back. If I don’t work hard, I’ll come back soft.”
Looking back to form again and hopefully has his scoring boots on for the rest of the season. Add Saka, Trossard and Martinelli, served by Odegaard and we are strong up front.
Still not getting over excited, too much can go wrong, but a great season that beat expectations easily, regardless.
And ESR, Eddie, Nelson,….
And let’s not forget the goal scoring machine Xhaka
I’ll make the call here and now – Gabi to grab a cheeky half dozen between now and May and we take the title comfortably.
Which gabi? We have a few.
Fantastic he is back scoring and what a performance. I did wince though with his knee slide celebration thinking about his recent surgery. Need all our players fit for an exciting run in.
I was more worried with how he got the penalty. I more than winced when I saw Ayling had kicked him in the knee
I had the same feeling – it was reckless.
Considering that more often than not a tackle with the studs up to the ankle merits a red card.
It was studs up to Jesus’s knee and OK it did not cause injury, but it could have and should have been a red in my opinion.
It was very light contact. Stonewall pen, but it wasn’t a dangerous tackle. It’s not a red card.
Definitely not red.stupid and clumsy.
Not malicious or dangerous
Yep – that was a true horror story in the making!!
How can you not love the man’s mentality. You definitely didn’t come back soft buddy, instead you’ve showed us immediately why we missed you.
Im convinced Jesus is going to have a break out season like a salah, Sanchez or a saurez. This is his first season being the main man up top, he turns 26 this month. I think he’s peak could be pretty special.
I also dont buy he is a bad finisher either just a bit inconsistent with goals but that could change overnight
Love that, absolutely it’s just a confidence thing and could just click for him suddenly, happened to RVP with us too.
What a sight that would be were it to happen. Imagine Jesus getting 20+ league goals for the next 3 seasons ably aided by Saka, Martinelli, Ode, ESR, and a settled Vieira! Stuff of dreams.
So far so good.According to reports var and the ref may have missed the elbow on Trossard.
If an Arsenal guy had done that its surely a rc.
I still maintain Arsenal have many obstacles to win the epl not now but since Wengers time
‘It was so good playing again, starting again’…..
and finishing again!
He’s gonna score the winner at An field next week.
Got man of the match for City against them twice last season
Man, what I wouldn’t now give to see him smash a winner past Man City – and reduce Pep to a broken inconsolable salt fountain.
“A furrowed brow temporarily returned …” Common blogs. Jesus was born with that furrow on his brow. It’s there 24/7. And it’s from the burden of taking away all the sins of this world – not the least of which is the existence that trophy-averse “football club” from across town.