Arsenal got pre-season underway on Friday with a 5-3 win over FC Nurnberg, so did we learn anything?

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - JULY 08: Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal reacts during the pre-season friendly match between 1. FC Nürnberg and Arsenal F.C. at Max-Morlock-Stadion on July 08, 2022 in Nuremberg, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
NUREMBERG, GERMANY – JULY 08: Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal reacts during the pre-season friendly match between 1. FC Nürnberg and Arsenal F.C. at Max-Morlock-Stadion on July 08, 2022 in Nuremberg, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Pre-season games tell us little of importance about how good Arsenal are likely to be next season. They are all about getting fitness up to the required level before, hopefully, it all clicks together in the final game or two.

But that doesn’t mean they are meaningless.

5 of the starting XI will get minutes for Arsenal next season

Arsenal lined up for the start of the game with a mish-mash of players, the majority of whom will be at a different club next season.

Only Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Kieran Tierney and Matt Turner can be confident of minutes of those who started the game.

Nicolas Pepe is fed up with life

With barely five minutes on the clock, his shoulders slumped and it all looked like it was too much trouble for the Ivorian whom the club are trying to sell or loan.

Pepe still has two years left on his current Arsenal deal.

Arsenal fans love a panic

When Kieran Tierney was replaced by Cedric in the first half there was mass panic for a few minutes before we all realised that he’d been taken off after exactly 30 minutes and it was probably pre-planned.

After the game, Mikel Arteta said, “He’s really good. He’s been training really good. Obviously he’s been out for over three months now so we wanted to give him a proper warm-up, play the first half an hour and then get him out.

“So he was in good condition and there’s no issues there.”

Jesus is something special

I was excited when we announced Gabriel Jesus, but watching his 45 minutes against Nurnberg ramped that up a notch.

Sure, it was only a friendly, and the first of pre-season at that, but his energy, work-rate, finishing, and how he sparked life into Eddie Nketiah all added up to something special.

Two goals, and another two own goals forced, made Jesus the man of the match by a distance after his half-time introduction.

After the game, Jesus said, “I’m so, so proud. I’m proud to be here at this big club.

“I’ve completed four or five days together with the lads, and I just want to say thank you to everyone at Arsenal because they make me feel at home.

“Everyone is talking, coming to me and saying ‘good luck, we are happy to have you here’, and I’m happy to be here as well. That makes me feel at home.”

Asked about his fitness levels, Jesus said, “I’m feeling good.

“Sometimes it’s hard because I had more than 20 days without running, without doing anything, just trying to get some sleep with my new baby and my girlfriend!

“Today was a difficult first half. We have to understand a little bit because we had young players, and they are a strong team. They played long ball, so it was difficult for us. But at the end we came back, and because everyone is together like a team, we did it.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.