Gabriel Jesus' time at Manchester City assessed

Gabriel Jesus: Arsenal signing forward can help take Gunners to the next level

Arsenal's capture of Gabriel Jesus is another step in the direction as they look to propel themselves to greater heights next season.

Having just signed the gifted Fabio Vieira from Porto last week, the signing of Jesus is an exceptional follow up piece of business by the Gunners to bolster their offensive armoury.

Moving to Arsenal for a hefty £45 million from Manchester City, this is certainly money well spent, however, for he's a proven goalscorer, is entering the prime of his career and has a terrific relationship with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta from their time working together at City.

Desperate to be the main man after his five-and-a-half seasons at the Premier League champions, where he never truly managed to establish himself as a bonafide starter under Pep Guardiola, switching to the Gunners offers him the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Regular minutes can help finishing

Although he's regularly come in for criticism for missing some presentable chances over the years, there's still much to like about his finishing that's enabled him to score 95 goals in 236 appearances in all competitions.

Instinctive, two footed and with the confidence to back himself to find the back of the net from an array of locations using his handy repertoire of finishes, the Brazilian international's a major threat when in range - even if he can be wasteful at times.

Typically taking high quality shots from good locations, this duly enhances his capacity to convert his chances. Whether hitting the top and bottom corners, nestling home headers, blasting efforts with venom, opening up his body to place his shots, shrewdly reacting to rebounds, slotting 1v1s or coolly directing one touch finishes, he parlays power and finesse nicely.

Gabriel Jesus' recent shot map

Clinical 1v1 finish with the keeper while under pressure
Clinical 1v1 finish with the keeper while under pressure

Opening up his body nicely to apply his first time placed finish
Opening up his body nicely to apply his first time placed finish

With plenty of room for improvement in his record that's seen him underperform his Premier League expected goals (xG) tally by 14.04 over the last five seasons, the hope is that with the continuity that regular gametime brings, his finishing will become far more consistent.

So clever with his movement to get himself into such promising zones in the final third, how he peels off the back shoulder of opponents to exploit their blindside, uses zig zags and double movements and times his runs astutely into the box sees him gain vital separation to unleash his shots.

Reading the play coherently and aware of nearby markers, how he knows if he needs to hold his run as the defence collapses deeper, attack the centre or target the near or back post ensures he's a brilliant option for crosses and cutbacks.

Meanwhile, when running in behind, the 25-year-old's ability to expose gaps between defenders, work the channels when the opposition fullback steps out and identify openings when a defender is drawn out, ball watching or preoccupied have been crucial strings to his bow.

Ready to pounce upon seeing the ball holder with the ball on their preferred foot and looking up to spot him, he'll get on his bike, ready to latch onto through balls first using his swift turn of speed and nous.

Superbly timed and directed run in behind
Superbly timed and directed run in behind

Masterful run between defenders before scoring
Masterful run between defenders before scoring

If he can't directly be involved, the way he strategically pins and draws markers is a huge upside, allowing colleagues to take advantage of freshly created space.

Wisely choosing when to drop deep between the lines with his back to goal or into the half spaces, Jesus does a neat job of linking play or forming overloads to progress attacks as well.

Receiving smartly between the lines
Receiving smartly between the lines

Working under the sophisticated Guardiola for many campaigns, the tactically knowledgeable Brazilian is unsurprisingly familiar with concepts like rotating with his colleagues and using opposite movements, which Arteta implements too.

Reliable in possession

Shifting the focus to his dribbling and passing, and there's also many positives to be extracted from his output here. Boasting a sharp first touch and tight ball control, this holds him good stead to embark on some barnstorming runs with the ball at his feet and to protect the ball.

Able to weave out of trouble and outfox adversaries using his slick alterations in pace and direction, fast feints and slick cuts inside, opponents find him a tough man to combat both in 1vs1 in slower methodical build up or in transition.

Strong on his feet to remain balanced while under pressure, it's a real asset of his how he rides challenges and can subsequently win fouls in potentially damaging areas for his team.

With ingenuity and incisive in his passing, this aspect of his game ensures he's adept at connecting passages with precise layoffs, flicks and one touch passes, which is unquestionably something Arteta demands of his centre forward.

Despite not being a prolific conjurer of chances, Jesus, who supplied a solid 46 overall assists for City, assesses his options thoroughly and obliges runners with some pinpoint through balls, measured crosses and cutbacks and with penetrative line breaking passes into the area.

Brilliantly weighted through ball in behind
Brilliantly weighted through ball in behind

Pinpoint cross to set up a chance
Pinpoint cross to set up a chance

Smart through ball into the box to oblige the runner
Smart through ball into the box to oblige the runner

Classy dribble and cross so create a quality chance
Classy dribble and cross so create a quality chance

Comfortable on the ball and possessing good poaching instincts to be in the right place at the right time, it'll be fascinating how Arteta uses Jesus.

Seeing as he can play both out wide and as a striker, this versatility importantly gives his boss flexibility to choose how best to use him depending on factors such as the opposition or the state of the game.

How does he compare to Lacazette?

By the numbers, it's impressive how well he fares when compared against outgoing forward Alexandre Lacazette, who was predominantly Arsenal's chief striker last term.

Considering Jesus and Lacazette started a similar amount of EPL games (21 to 20) and logged a similar amount of minutes (1878 to 1785), this comparison using Wyscout data gives a solid reading of Jesus' handy offensive output.

The talented Brazilian remarkably comes out ahead in every metric in the below table that covers many of the key stats for finishing, plus ranks higher in a host of passing figures.

Jesus vs. Lacazette finishing comparison

Jesus vs. Lacazette passing comparison

Strong defensive effort

The former Palmeiras hotshot's relentless defensive efforts amplify his worth, for he's an intense presser, works so hard for his team and is always pushing to make life as difficult as possible for the opposition.

When factoring how smartly he curves his pressing to block passing lanes behind him and responds rapidly to triggers such as a pass into wide areas, a back pass, a sloppy or underhit pass and a player receiving in an open body posture or with their back to goal, this punctuates his stopping value.

Quality pressing while using his cover shadow to block multiple passing lanes
Quality pressing while using his cover shadow to block multiple passing lanes

So well versed in not just harrying mechanics but also defending in a settled mid block due to working under Guardiola for all that time, this aspect of his game will have endeared him further to Arteta.

Stacking up excellently with Lyon bound Lacazette in the defensive phase too, as shown in the graphic below, expect Jesus to wholeheartedly lead the press and set the tone for his colleagues to follow.

Jesus vs. Lacazette defensive comparison

Possessing all the ingredients to be a massive hit at the Emirates and the perfect fit for Arteta's system, the man who's won four Premier League titles and already has a wonderful knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the Premier League should be a formidable force from the outset.

Now with an ideal framework to consistently showcase his quality week in, week out, there's every reason to suggest he'll fill the void left by the departures of firstly Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and now Lacazette.

While it won't be easy truly stamping his mark, all the signs are positive on the surface, at least, that Jesus is exactly the forward Arteta’s Arsenal needs to help elevate themselves to the next level.

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