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Jesus reflects on the good and bad of his home debut

Two goals and two assists made for a very decent day at the office for Gabriel Jesus but the player admits he should have had a hat-trick after failing to convert several other opportunities during Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester. 

The Brazil international had a total of seven efforts on goal during his 84 minutes on the pitch and lead the line with such energy that manager Mikel Arteta remarked in his post-game press conference, “I wouldn’t like to play against him.”

After putting the Gunners ahead with a delightful chip, Jesus doubled the lead with his head 12 minutes later and came very close to a third before the break when he brilliantly controlled a long ball by Aaron Ramsdale before a combination of Wilfried Ndidi and goalkeeper Danny Ward denied him.

The chance was still on his mind after the game when Sky Sports asked if he should have taken the match ball home.

“For sure, I work all day, every day to score goals and to help,” he said.

“The ball from Aaron [in the first half], I did well [to control] but when I went to shoot the defender come back quick. After, I had another chance which I could have scored.

“I’m a little bit sad because of this but I’m so happy, you know, not just because of the goals but because of the way the team are playing. In the difficult moments, we conceded two goals, but we keep playing well and try always to score.”

While Jesus wasn’t starved of minutes at Manchester City – he averaged an hour on the pitch across his 41 appearances last season – he wasn’t charged with being the club’s main number 9.

It’s clear already at Arsenal that, alongside Eddie Nketiah, he will have far more responsibility. It’s a challenge he’s relishing.

“A lot, a lot,” he replied when asked if he’s enjoying himself at the Emirates.

“I was not unhappy at City, I was just wanting to play, I understand the club, I understand the manager, but sometimes players want to play and I’m the same.

“Here I come, train every day, me and Eddie [Nketiah] finishing, he has a lot of quality, a lot of confidence to play as well, I think Arsenal have two good strikers.”

Arteta: Saliba reaction shows supporters connection

On the eve of Arsenal’s match with Leicester, Mikel Arteta warned that young players like William Saliba would inevitably make in-game mistakes and that it was part of the price clubs pay for blooding youngsters in the heat of battle.

“I always said that especially with the young and development portfolio of players that we have in our squad, you have to pay a bill,” he explained.

“And that bill is that at some stage they’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to experience things for the first time and they have to go through that process.”

He also cautioned against overreaction good and bad towards players just making their way in the game.

24 hours later, Saliba, under little pressure, headed past his own goalkeeper to give Leicester a glimmer of hope of a comeback.

Quick to take the burden off the young Frenchman, the home fans immediately began singing his name in a show of support.

The chants were still echoing around the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners mounted their next attack which resulted in Granit Xhaka restoring the lead on the way to a 4-2 victory. 

For Arteta, the moment after Saliba’s hiccup was particularly special.

“What they’ve done today with William Saliba is something that in my career I haven’t seen and that shows the connection and to really be there when it matters and when it’s difficult for somebody.

“We should be really proud to play in front of them because that was special.

“I think it really lifted the confidence of Wilo and how he played the last minutes after that and for the team as well.”

The boss was also thankful that the own goal wasn’t costly.

“The good thing is you pay the bill but you don’t really pay because you win the football match so it’s much easier to learn when that happens but I am happier today than I was at Crystal Palace with him because the way he played after that was incredible.”

Arteta: We’re a different level in the final third

Mikel Arteta says his side are playing at a ‘different level’ after watching Arsenal cruise to a 4-2 win over Leicester City at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners raced to a two-goal advantage before the break courtesy of a Gabriel Jesus brace, the first a delightful lob, and then kept Leicester at arm’s length in the second half as Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli each scored just after the visitors had pegged the home side back through a William Saliba own goal and James Maddison strike.

After the match, Arteta praised the way his side have developed their game in the final third.

“You can see the interaction and the speed of execution, it’s a different level now,” enthused the Spaniard in his post-game press conference.

“The rotation can be the same and the way that they can execute it at that speed and be that precise is completely different. It’s much more difficult to defend.”

Asked about the importance of playing instinctively, he continued, “Within that structure, within that shape and within that unit you have the freedom to decide and occupy any space, and they know that and we work on that every day.”

It certainly helps Arsenal’s cause that they have a striker as deadly as new recruit Gabriel Jesus.

Not only did the Brazilian open his Arsenal account in the Premier League, he also laid on two assists. It bodes well for the rest of the season.

“We know what Gabby can do,” said Arteta. “He scored two and assisted two and he’s still disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four.

“That’s the standard, that’s the mentality that if you want to go to a different level you need that mentality. I wouldn’t like to play against him.

“I have never been a defender but I can imagine that they don’t enjoy it. He’s so mobile, so intuitive and is always sharp and proactive to play in any moment and any phase of the game and he’s a real threat.”

Having spent a lot of time on the bench at Manchester City in the last two seasons, the challenge for Arteta is to get the best out of Jesus on an ongoing and regular basis.

“I think he’s played 18 starts in the last two seasons and we are going to demand him to start a lot of games, so we have to manage that load and the way that we train is different,” said Arteta.

“We have to be on top of that and hopefully we are.”

Towards the tail-end of last season, Arteta spoke openly about the need for Arsenal to score lots more goals if they are to challenge the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for honours.

While Jesus has been signed to help with that, he’s also buoyed that other players, lifted by the Brazilian’s presence, are getting in on the act.

“I think it lifts the standards with the way that he’s training every day and the way that he’s talking and the way that they are connecting.

“I think it’s very natural, but at the same time it’s pretty impressive to do it that quickly, but then we are asking other players to score goals as well.

“Granit is arriving in the box and he should have scored last week and he could have scored two today because he had another header, and that’s what we need.

“If you want to be at the top then we’re going to have to score a lot of goals and we cannot rely on two or three players.”

Arteta on the win, Jesus and crowd’s response to Saliba

Arsenal continued their fine start to the new campaign with a 4-2 win over Leicester courtesy of two goals by Gabriel Jesus and second half strikes from Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli.

After the match, Mikel Arteta faced the Sky Sports cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On back-to-back wins…

I’m really happy, a great game, I thought. Two very good teams, we had big moments, total control of the game and then we let it go a little bit and we had moments we suffered a little bit and then we got back on it. Overall, it was a big performance and a great win.

On Jesus’ performance…

It’s what he brings to the team, it’s that energy, that passion, that threat, you have the feeling that something is going to happen, it’s very intuitive and he’s very reliable every time you have to use him. I’m delighted to have him.

On expecting big things from Jesus…

I expect what I know of him and what we all expect from him is that he has the same level of work rate and enthusiasm that he brings to the team and then he’s going to put the ball in the net because it’s in his nature.

On twice scoring straight after Leicester and what it says…

The goal we conceded, obviously it was an own goal from Willy and a disappointing moment but I’ve never seen in football the response from our crowd, it was just incredible, I’m so proud to play in front of them. You don’t see that in football, you just don’t see it the way they supported him afterwards. They lifted the team and instead of a disappointing moment they created a very special moment in the stadium, so thank you so much for supporting our players like this.

Arsenal 4-2 Leicester – player ratings

Gabriel Jesus scored twice, while Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli grabbed a goal each to help Arsenal beat Leicester 4-2 at the Emirates this afternoon.

In truth, the 2 for Leicester flatters them, while the 4 for Arsenal doesn’t really signify the dominance Mikel Arteta’s side had during this game. William Saliba’s own goal might have added some nerves, but Arsenal responded straight away. Similarly, James Maddison making it 3-2 could have produced a nervous last 15 minutes, but Martinelli added breathing space with a superb goal.

Some of the football Arsenal played was intricate and devastating; Jesus has brought a new dimension to the team’s forward play and should have had a hat-trick; and the Gunners were more than worthy of the 3 points on the day.

Here’s how the players rated this afternoon.

Read the Arsenal 4-2 Leicester report and see the goals here

Arsenal 4-2 Leicester – Player Ratings

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Report: Arsenal 4 – 2 Leiceister City (inc. goals)

Result: Arsenal 4 – 2 Leiceister City
Competition: Premier League
Date: 13 August 2022
Venue: The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesus

Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Elneny, Lokonga, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Nketiah


The first league match at home was a goal fest as Arsenal won 4-2. The Gunners showed slick movement and passing with 4 excellent goals but would also be disappointed conceding 2 goals.

Jesus caught the headlines with 2 goals in the first half but an own goal by Saliba halved the lead early in the second half. A Maddison strike sandwiched goals by Xhaka and Martinelli as fans were treated to an exciting exhibition of attacking play.

Pre-Match

Arteta named an unchanged side from the Crystal Palace match for the Gunners’ first home game of the season.

The return of Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu on the bench strengthened the team as Arsenal attempted to claim their second win in two weeks.

First Half

A very hot afternoon at the Emirates played host to a strong start by both Arsenal and Leicester City. The teams were lively with their movement but also stayed organised as they felt each other out on the pitch.

Jesus and Martinelli stood out for their energy and were a handful for the opposing defence. The latter was a menace to Fofana in the opening minutes with his direct dribbling, earning the defender a yellow as he pulled the Brazillian back down the left.

The Arsenal left side also posed problems to the team in blue. In possession, Zinchenko took up the inside left channel of the midfield area, allowing Xhaka to drift from left midfield to pop up in central attacking areas. Xhaka’s movement surprised Leicester as he continually appeared in the box to support the forwards.

The Swiss had an attempt at the back post ricochet off the post but his next touch in the box was a feathered lay off for Jesus who nonchalantly chipped the ball over the head of Danny Ward to move Arsenal ahead at home. 1-0 Arsenal

If the first goal showed Jesus’ technical skill, his second was a display of his poacher’s instincts. Martinelli floated in a corner which was flicked on at the near post. The change in the ball’s trajectory caused some confusion but Jesus was sharper than most. He was at the back post to receive and head in unopposed to double his tally for the day. 2-0 Arsenal

The goals breathed even more life into the team, with Jesus especially dangerous as the spearhead of the attack. The striker could have had a couple more goals if not for Ward saving Leicester’s skin in goal.

The Foxes reminded Arsenal of their counter attacking prowess with Vardy an outball for the away team. Arsenal was almost victim to such a counter at the end of the half as Leicester released Vardy down the inside right channel. Ramsdale came out to intercept and looked to have knocked into the wily old fox. For once, VAR did its job to overturn the penalty decision as contact looked minimal.

Arsenal deserved their lead. Their free flowing movement and intensity penned back a decent Leicester side with Jesus the standout player.

Second Half

Leiceister pushed up high after the break to find a breakthrough but the Gunners were resolute in cutting out the passing lanes and in winning their duels. However, all it took was a mistake to bring Leicester back into the game. Evans lofted a long pass into the penalty box and Saliba intercepted the ball with a header as he ran back towards his goal.

However, Saliba couldn’t get his angle right and the ball sneaked past Ramsdale for an own goal. 2-1 Leicester

Arsenal didn’t have to wait long to restore their 2 goal lead. It was Leicester’s time to make a mistake as Ward spilled a simple ball into the feet of Jesus. The skirmish found Xhaka,  making one of many good runs into the box during the game, who rifled the ball home. 3-1 Arsenal 

The Gunners were not out of the woods yet. Maddison was central to Leicester’s improved possession and dictated the play for the Foxes from deep. His run up the right surprised Arsenal and his shot from an acute angle caught Ramsdale out. The ball zipped between Ramdale’s legs to make it 3-2 Leicester

Again, Arsenal responded immediately. The home side countered quickly and found Martinelli on the left hand side, just outside the box. He striked the ball with his left foot, driving the ball low and across goal to make it 4-2 Arsenal

It could have been 5-2 with a Jesus hattrick but the Brazillian would regret missing an open chance with his left foot 10 minutes from time. Jesus and Saka made way at the end for Nketiah and Smith Rowe to keep the tempo up.

Towards the final minutes, Partey hit the post and Nketiah drew a couple of good saves from Ward. The match ended 4-2 with the attacking display a positive though Arteta might have a word about defensive solidity in some key moments.

Most importantly, Arsenal continued their perfect start to the season.

Gunners unchanged, Tomi and Smith Rowe make the bench: Arsenal v Leicester team news

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Arsenal take on Leicester at the Emirates today, looking to build on last weekend’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Here are the official line-ups.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesus

Subs: Turner, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Elneny, Lokonga, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Nketiah

Leicester: Ward, Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Amartey, Justin, Tielemans, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison, Vardy

Subs: Iversen, Soyuncu, Thomas, Mendy, Praet, Albrighton, Perez, Iheanacho, Daka

Follow the game on the Arseblog live blog

Arteta: Saliba’s intention was always to play for Arsenal

Mikel Arteta says he never had any doubts about William Saliba’s desire to prove himself at Arsenal and insists the plan was always to reintegrate the centre-back into the first team squad following his loan spell with Marseille.

The Ligue 1 side were so pleased with Saliba’s development during his 12 months at the Stade Velodrome that they wanted to keep the player but the Gunners were quick to rebuff the enquiry.

“The reality is that he was very convinced and determined to come here,” Arteta told reporters ahead of the clash with Leicester. 

“He had no other choice (in his head), he never suggested anything else.

“From the first conversations I had with him, you could see that he only had one intention – to come here and start to play football matches for Arsenal.”

After impressing in pre-season, Saliba made his long-awaited competitive debut in the season opener at Crystal Palace and, after helping his side to a clean sheet, was awarded the man of the match award.

Already a fully-fledged France international, he is a very exciting prospect. At the same time, Arteta is wary of everyone getting carried away.

“I think expectations and positive expectations are created when you see something special in a player and it’s obvious: they’ve seen that, they see the talent,” he noted.

“What I would say is, instead of doing that, just protect the player. Let’s protect him, let’s make sure he has the right environment to fulfil his potential and when things don’t go that well that we are as good as we are when things are going well.”

Arteta also channelled his inner Arsene Wenger by openly stating that blooding youngsters can come at a cost.

Arteta told reporters ahead of the clash with Leicester. , the Frenchman remarked: “You pay for the education of young players with points. I play a young central defender of 20-years-old and I know he will cost me points in the season. I have to stand up for that.”

Arteta’s take is very similar.

“Mistakes are part of football at 21 and 35,” he said. “They’re going to happen, the mistakes that we want to happen are as much as possible on the training field and if they happen on the pitch they don’t cause you goals. That’s the objective. But inevitably, things will happen.

“I always said that especially with the young and development portfolio of players that we have in our squad, you have to pay a bill. And that bill is that at some stage they’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to experience things for the first time and they have to go through that process.”

Arteta had earlier been asked about Saliba’s contract situation and whether the club were in talks over a new deal. He wouldn’t be drawn on the specifics of talks but did hint that he has to show the player some love after an unusual start to his Arsenal career.

Saka earns second successive Kopa Trophy nomination

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Bukayo Saka has been included on France Football’s 10-man shortlist for the Kopa Trophy for the second successive year.

Named after the French footballer Raymond Kopa and selected by former Ballon d’Or winners, it has been running since 2018 and is presented to the best-performing player in world football under the age of 21.

The winger’s latest nomination comes off the back of an impressive showing for England at the European Championships and a stellar 2021/22 domestic campaign that saw him make seven assists and score 12 goals in 43 appearances for Arsenal. 

While Saka is not the only Englishman on the list, he is the only Premier League player to be included this time around. When you consider the Gunners weren’t playing in Europa last season it’s all the more impressive.

This will be the fourth edition of the Kopa Trophy, the previous winners are Kylian Mbappe, Matthijs De Ligt and Pedri. The winner will be announced in October.

Congratulations, Bukayo.

France Football also confirmed the names of those who’d made the cut for the Ballon d’Or and the Women’s Ballon d’Or. Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead are on the latter.

2022 KOPA TROPHY NOMINEES

Karim Adeyemi, Borussia Dortmund
Jude Bellingham, Borussia Dortmund
Eduardo Camavinga, Real Madrid
Gavi, Barcelona
Ryan Gravenberch, Bayern Munich
Nuno Mendes, PSG
Jamal Musiala, Bayern Munich
Joško Gvardiol, RB Leipzig
Bukayo Saka, ARSENAL
Florian Wirtz, Bayer Leverkusen

Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema nominated for Ballon D’Or

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Arsenal’s Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema have been nominated for the 2021-22 Ballon D’Or award. The Arsenal forwards both made the 20 strong shortlist with the winner to be announced on October 17th.

Mead won Arsenal’s Player of the Season award with both the supporters club and Arsenal.com and then went on to win the Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot as England won Euro 2022.

Miedema enjoyed another solid season which saw her move from the number 9 position to number 10, however, a covid infection impacted her performance at Euro 2022 where she missed two games and was not really fit for the third.

The other players nominated were: Sam Kerr, Christiane Endler, Kadidiatou Diani, Lucy Bronze, Selma Bacha, Fridolina Rolfo, Alexia Putellas, Lena Oberdorf, Trinity Rodman, Wendie Renard, Asisat Oshoala, Alex Morgan, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Ada Hegerberg, Millie Bright, Aitana Bonmati, Catarina Macario, Alexandra Popp.

Arsenal’s Euro 2022 winners and Rafaelle, who won the Copa America with Brazil this summer, will return to full training with Arsenal on Monday.