Gabriel Jesus is the ‘gamechanger’ for Arsenal…and a huge upgrade on Alexandre Lacazette

Mikel Arteta’s ‘project’ at Arsenal has divided opinion, even induced ridicule, after some of his training methods and pre-match preparations were revealed in the recent Amazon Prime documentary.

Blasting You’ll Never Walk Alone across the training ground ahead of a trip to Liverpool and holding hands in the dressing room to feel the energy of team-mates became lightning rods for frustrated fans, disappointed that Arsenal had blown their chance of Champions League qualification, last season.

But the method in the madness is there for all to see now.

Arsenal were turned over at Brentford on the opening day of last season. In the weeks and months that followed they steadily became more disciplined and committed. The team toughened up, their resolve strengthened.

This season, with five new additions, Arteta has been able to build on that solid foundation and Arsenal have gone to the next level. No one is more important to them at this moment than Gabriel Jesus, who powered home a header to put the Gunners two-up, on their way to a 3-0 win at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday.

Still smarting from their humiliation at Brentford in the last campaign, the Gunners were determined to put the Bees back in their box this time around and they did so; emphatically.

The performance epitomised the progress made by Arteta as his team returned to the top of the Premier League table with six wins from seven.

And the new No 9, Jesus, has led from the front in every sense.

‘Jesus is Arsenal’s real game-changer for me,’ Shearer told the BBC. ‘Jesus is already a huge part of what Arsenal are about now – it’s not just his goals and creativity that make him so important to them, it’s his relentless energy.’

Jesus, who signed from Manchester City in the summer, sets the tone. At Brentford, he could be found wresting for possession at left back as well as way up on the left wing, in the dying minutes of the game.

He will drop short and fight for the ball to bring others into play, or charge in behind forcing opposition defenders to drop off and create space for his talented team mates, like Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira and the rejuvenated Granit Xhaka.

The fact is, the Brazilian is huge upgrade on Alexandre Lacazette. At least, the Lacazette who played out the final year of his contract at the Emirates, last season.

If during that campaign, Arsenal developed a stronger jaw, to borrow a boxing metaphor, this season they have added a punch. Only Erling Haaland has been involved in more Premier League goals this term than Jesus.

The striker has already matched Lacazette’s tally of four top-flight goals in the whole of the last campaign, and we are only seven games in. And Jesus is returning better numbers in almost every aspect of his play.

He has delivered roughly double the number of shots on target per 90 minutes, as well as goals and assists, so far this season. The Brazilian has 50 per cent more touches of the ball per game and he is much more prominent in the middle and attacking thirds as he looks to link the play.

He even makes more blocks and interceptions and wins more tackles than the Frenchman achieved last season. ‘Relentless’ is an apt description.

Despite his success, there is an admission from the man himself that he can do more after he was left out of the latest squad for the national side.

‘There was (contact), after the call-up, yes,’ he told ESPN Brasil. ‘I respect the coach’s decision a lot, I respect Tite, the entire staff.

‘As I said, I’m Brazilian, I’ll always root for the team. And I also respect the other players, who have a lot of quality. I’ll keep doing my best to have the opportunity again.

‘What is in my control is my performance. I will always try to give my best, finish the plays. Today I had some chances that I could also improve a little more, I know. I’ve been training, trying to do my best.’

That kind of mentality has been serving him well and no doubt he will be impossible for Tite to overlook if this season’s form continues.

Of course, Jesus has been helped by playing in a successful team strengthened by the addition of Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City, Vieira from Porto, William Saliba’s return from loan, as well as his himself. And Arsenal now enjoy more possession of the ball and the team is significantly more inclined to play forwards.

‘Laca’ earned a fond farewell after five seasons at Arsenal, which brought 71 goals in 206 appearances. He was the club’s top scorer in two seasons and has a place in Arsenal’s top ten scorers in the Premier League. When he left he was warmly praised for his all-round contribution. There is no doubt he was a good servant of the club.

However, it is also true that Lacazette’s contribution fell away dramatically from what he gave Arsenal at his peak. In 2018-19, when he was named the club’s Player of the Year, his statistics, while below those achieved by Jesus now, were more comparable.

And to be fair, Jesus is currently ‘playing like a man possessed’, according to former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks.

‘His enthusiasm and appetite for the game is immense,’ said Crooks, who included the Brazilian in his BBC Team of the Week.

‘He’s not just scoring goals for the Gunners but leading the line. His movement around the pitch is fantastic and he plays the game with an infectious arrogance that is spreading through the Arsenal team like wildfire, and the reason why they currently sit on top of the Premier League.’

Arsenal have shown they mean business this season, but the Bees’ boss Thomas Frank’s assessment that they will be challenging for the Premier League title sounds a little premature.

The Gunners have failed their biggest test so far this season, losing 3-1 away at Manchester United, where they were caught out on the counter attack on the only occasion they have lost points.

Their next game, at home to Spurs on October 1, will be intriguing.

Former Aston Villa, Chelsea and Marseille striker Tony Cascarino says that Arteta finally has the team he has craved since taking on the Arsenal job almost three years ago, one capable of emulating his former club, Manchester City.

‘[They] won the ball back quickly, passed with pace and produced clinical finishing – just like City do,’ Cascarino told The Times.

‘The next test is winning big games like City do and it doesn’t get much bigger than the North London derby.’

The international break will give Arteta and his staff time to regroup. It will also allow Jesus to recharge after his explosive start to the season after being inexplicably left out of the Brazil squad. The striker will return full of energy and with a point to prove.

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  • 32 минуты назад 30.09.2022Sport
    FIA face calls to strip Max Verstappen and instate Lewis Hamilton as F1 champion

    Formula One fans have demanded the FIA make Lewis Hamilton an eight-time champion after claims Red Bull broke budget cap rules. It comes after German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport reported Red Bull had exceeded the limits by $5million (£4.5m) last season. Aston Martin is also thought to have gone over the cap.

    The current rules would have this as a “minor violation” and would only issue the team a financial penalty. However, if more money has been spent, the team could be in breach of a “material overspend”.

    This comes with various sanctions including the reduction of Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship points. The FIA has confirmed a formal process looking into the teams’ budgets are underway.

    However, it has not stopped fans from calling for the FIA to revoke Verstappen’s championship win last season. Twitter user @LewisBP5 said: “At this point we should just start referring to Lewis Hamilton as the 8x World Champion.”

    @PolishPrinceMMA posted: “Just waiting for Lewis Hamilton to officially be the 2021 champion.” @worldchamp44 added: “Lewis got disqualified in Brazil for 0.2mm, so I say that a team that exceeds the [budget] cap should be disqualified immediately as well.

    “Of course the FIA would do nothing to give the WDC [world drivers championship] back to the legitimate champion: Sir Lewis Hamilton.” But, Hamilton being declared champion is unlikely as precedent suggests driver’s standings are rarely tampered with.

    Back in 2007, McLaren was only docked in the Constructors’ Championship after their spygate investigation.

    Red Bull has stressed the reports are “just speculation at this stage” while Aston Martin claimed they were “in discussion with the FIA”. It is under top Mercedes and Ferrari feel the extra money could have led to an extra half a second in track performance.

    Teams are likely to push for a harsh penalty to set a precedent on the issue. Some social media users have also agreed, calling on the FIA to take extreme measures.

    @plumwars1 posted: “100 per cent I can’t think of anything apart from a DSQ. If it’s just a fine, big teams will just go over the budget cap and pay the fine instead. The consequences have to be severe if the FIA wanted to uphold the budget cap as a rule.”

    @warmvanxlla explained: “Tbh if Red Bull don’t get disqualified from the 2021 and 2022 seasons and only get light penalties or a fine, then the budget cap will officially be meaningless. Teams would then rather breach the budget cap and pay the fine – it will just be chaos.”

  • 32 минуты назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Jockey Christophe Soumillon appears to elbow rival off horse in extraordinary scenes

    Jockey Christophe Soumillon has been handed a lengthy ban after he appeared to push Rossa Ryan off of his mount in a race in France. The rider seemed to push his elbow into his competitor mid-race, leading Ryan to take a nasty tumble.

    Racing just under a mile at Saint-Cloud, Syros – ridden by Soumillon – appeared to swerve into Captain Wierzba – ridden by Ryan – as the pair came round the bend at the back of the field. However, footage showed that the collision looked somewhat intentional, with Soumillon pushing his elbow towards Galway-born Ryan.

    The 21-year-old, caught off guard by the collision, attempted to remain on his mount but soon fell to the ground, landing on his neck. Syros was disqualified after the race, having finished second, by the Stewards.

    Remarkably, Ryan did get up from his fall okay and appears to have walked away from the astonishing incident without any serious injuries. Given that the Stewards were so quick to disqualify Syros, the general consensus amongst racing fans was that the authorities should come down hard on the Belgian rider.

    And those thoughts were correct as Soumillon confirmed to Sky Sports Racing that he had been given a two month ban. He said: “I’ve just received a big suspension from Gallop Stewards, I’m going to be suspended for two months, 60 days of racing.

    “My end of season is now gone. I accept the sentence for what I did, it was a terrible mistake and hopefully nobody was hurt. I shouldn’t do that and I didn’t do it on purpose to make him fall off his horse, I was just trying to keep my position with the ground but maybe I did it with a bit of power but I don’t know. It was a misjudgement from my side.”

    However, Soumillon will still be able to ride in the Qatar Prix de L’arc de Triomphe this Sunday as his ban will not come into effect until the 14th of October, ending on the 12th of December. The 41-year-old is set to ride 8/1 shot Vadeni in the race, who heads to France on the back of an underwhelming finish in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

    The colt finished third on the day, behind Arc favourite Luxembourg, and will be hoping to improve in France. Though whether connections will still stand by Soumillon for the race remains to be seen.

  • 32 минуты назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Red Bull boss Christian Horner responds after ‘rule break’ claims ahead of Singapore GP

    Christian Horner has denied that Red Bull have breached F1’s budget cap regulations despite rumours the team were around $5million (4.5mil) over the limits last season. It comes after reports from Auto Motor und Sport reported that both Red Bull and Aston Martin had gone over the threshold last year.

    Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he explained: “I’m not aware of any. See the council submitted way back in March, so it’s been a long process with the FIA going through and we’re in that process as we speak.

    “So, you know, their rightly, following that process. And I think next week, mid next week is, you know, when they declare the certificates so, you know, I think that, certainly our submission was was below the cap, and it’s down to the FIA, obviously, to follow their process, which they’re currently doing.

    Red Bull had stressed the reports were “just speculation at this stage” with Aston Martin admitting they were “in discussion with the FIA”. But, Horner denied any involvement ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, claiming the team had not broken any rules.

    “And as I said, Yep, I in a process and I think there’s always going to be rumours. I’ve heard of major breaches and whatever. I’m certainly not aware of that.” A minor breach under five per cent of the cap would result in a financial penalty being issued.

    However, a larger cost could result in teams or drivers being penalised for a “material overspend”. This could result in teams being docked points in the drivers’ and teams’ standings in what could be a major blow to last season’s champion Max Verstappen.

    It is understood Mercedes and Ferrari believe the extra money could result in a performance advantage of around half a second. The teams will likely push for a harsher penalty in a bid to set a precedent against further rule-breaking in the sport.

    The FIA have confirmed there is currently a formal process looking at the team’s spends before compliance certificates are issued next week. Horner reiterated Red Bull were “confident” in their accounts and didn’t fear any punishments.

    He added: “I mean, every team theoretically is subject to it. So they will have looked at every team’s submitted account. So you know, they’re following a process and you know that that conclusion date has been moved from I think, July to September now to October but it’s a big job. It’s a lot for them to through. We’re very confident in our submission. So you know, anything different to that, then obviously, we’ll wait to hear from the FIA.”

  • 32 минуты назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Man Utd boss Ten Hag provides updates on Rashford and two others ahead of Man City clash

    Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has spoken out ahead of Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The Red Devils go into the game knowing victory over their rivals would move them to within two points of Pep Guardiola’s side. Defeat, however, would represent a substantial setback given their improvement in recent weeks.

    Manchester United started the season slowly, losing Premier League matches to Brighton and Brentford at the start of the Ten Hag era.

    That led to some to suggest the Dutchman wasn’t good enough for the job but, in the time since, he’s silenced his critics to turn the situation around.

    United got their first win of the season against Liverpool and haven’t looked back, beating the likes of Southampton, Leicester and Arsenal in the top flight.

    Victory over City on Sunday would represent a huge statement of intent, with the Red Devils searching for a first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.

    And Ten Hag has now faced the media ahead of the biggest match of his United spell to date.

    When quizzed on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, the Dutchman confirmed the duo were back in training.

    Man Utd transfers: Two players stopped the club making more signings

    When quizzed on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, the Dutchman confirmed the duo were back in training.

    Rashford has been missing since United’s stirring 3-1 win over Arsenal at the start of the month, with the England international netting twice in that victory.

    Martial, meanwhile, has been absent since the Red Devils’ 2-1 triumph over Liverpool at the end of August.

    “Anthony Martial been training with the group all week, really happy with that situation,” he said.

    “Marcus Rashford also joined training, so we are happy with that.”

    Ten Hag did, however, confirm Harry Maguire would miss the showdown through injury.

    DON’T MISS Man Utd can complete rebuild in January with three signingsWhat Ten Hag has told his players about the GlazersThe Glazers have five reasons to sell Man Utd

    And he also defended the England international by saying: “I have to coach him and back him. I back him because I believe in him.

    “I can see his qualities. Quality is there. Almost 50 caps for England, he has high potential.

    “Then it is about him. We all believe in him.”

    September has been a good month for United, with the Red Devils winning their two Premier League fixtures while also getting the better of Sheriff in the Europa League.

    Ten Hag has scooped the Manager of the Month award, and recognised this by saying: “What we achieved we did together, it says we are in the right direction.

    “There is a lot of space for improvement, we have to. It says we are in the right direction but have to work harder.”

    Want the new Man Utd shirt? Click here to buy it.

    When asked about how to stop Erling Haaland, he continued: “We don’t play against Haaland, we play against Man City. We are convinced of our capabilities.

    “If we act as a team then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we need, and we need it even more Sunday.”

    And though he’s yet to get a taste of Manchester derby action, he believes his experience puts his team in good stead.

    “I approach this by looking at ourselves. Manchester United, we want to win every game,” he said. “The aim for Sunday is nothing else.

    “We have to do our best and of course a good plan, and the execution.

    “I have played many derbies! I know what they are, what the rivalry, what they do with each other. I know it is the most important game in the Manchester area.


    “It excites me. You do everything to win that game.”

    Towards the end of his press conference, Ten Hag also insisted United were doing everything to aid the mental health of their players – again referencing Maguire.

    “It is an aspect of top football, it is an aspect of our work. We set conditions for that, we also have experts about,” he said.

    “He (Maguire) is doing quite well, but there is always room for improvement.

    “If he believes in his own skills he will be back, and I am convinced of that. His abilities are really high.”

    Want the latest football news? Join our brand new Facebook group by clicking here

  • 32 минуты назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Chelsea boss Graham Potter refuses to make Boehly request as Premier League reign begins

    Chelsea boss Graham Potter has insisted he will not ask for special treatment from the club’s owners and ask for time to settle into his new role, accepting that patience is not a part of modern football. The new head coach is preparing his side for his first Premier League game against Crystal Palace since taking charge earlier this month and is under no illusions that he has to get his side winning quickly.

    Boehly made the brutal decision to axe Thomas Tuchel just days after completing a £272million spend in the transfer market, hiring Potter as his replacement with one eye on a long-term vision under the 47-year-old.

    Potter has earned a reputation as one of England’s most promising coaches during his three-year reign at Brighton, but the Englishman has refused to ask for time in order to implement his coaching methods on his new squad.

    “I don’t want to be that guy who is asking for time. The coaching process, it helps if you have time,” Potter said, ahead of Saturday’s clash at Selhurst Park. “We’re in a world where there isn’t a lot of patience. All I can do is try my best, improve, work with the players.”

    Potter took charge of his first game in the Champions League after their fixtures against Liverpool and Fulham were postponed following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.

    And while there were glimpses of how his philosophy had rubbed off on his players in their two training sessions together, it was simply not enough time for Potter to stamp his authority on the squad.

    However, the three-week gap between their last fixture and the present has allowed the Chelsea head coach to get to know his players more on the training ground and develop his relationship with them.

  • 1 час, 20 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Barcelona ‘will move ahead with plans’ to wear white away kit thanks to ‘POSITIVE’ fan surveys

    Barcelona are controversially planning to wear a white away kit during the 2023-24 season despite the colour being synonymous with bitter rivals Real Madrid, a new report has claimed.

    The Catalan giants previously met backlash from fans at attempts to don a white strip in 2019, after the club proposed to commemorate the Catalan patron saint, St George, by wearing a white top emblazoned with a red cross.

    Those plans were swiftly scrapped by the board of directors, but according to ESPN, Barcelona ‘will move ahead with plans’ to wear a white away kit next season thanks to ‘positive enough’ surveys from fans.

    Reports also suggest that the cash-strapped club are considering the move for financial reasons, with Barcelona believing that a white away kit ‘would sell very well.’

    Sales from the new kit could go some way in helping the club rescue their dire financial situation, after the club had to execute several ‘economic levers’ to amass enough funds to register new players in the summer, such as Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

    But it won’t be the first time the Catalan club have pulled on a white strip, with the Catalan side donning an all-white shirt, blue shorts and striped socks back in 1978.

    It has been claimed that the club almost implemented a white strip for their away kit for the current season but in the end a grey kit was selected.

    Understandably, some fans of the club have not reacted well to the idea that Barcelona could pull on a white shirt next season.

    Spanish journalist Jota Jordi, who works for popular TV show ‘El Chiringuito’, said, per Marca: ‘The white shirt belongs to Real Madrid. Barcelona with a white jersey? It’s a shame.

    ‘You have to respect certain things. You have to respect the history of the clubs and the feelings of the people.

    ‘Barcelona’s badge on top of a white Real Madrid jersey is a disgrace, and I hope no one buys it.’

    In 2016, the club agreed a £120m-per-year deal with Nike to design their kits, with the sports brand having produced some of the most iconic Barcelona kits in history, worn by the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

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