Gabriel Jesus arrived at Arsenal on July 4, with the Gunners finding cause for celebration on their own version of Independence Day. It was a little early for fireworks, but the signing of a Brazil international striker suggested that a fuse would be lit under Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
It did not take long for markers to be put down, with a four-time Premier League title winner requiring less than two minutes on his pre-season bow against Nurnberg to open his goal account with his first shot for new employers.
A top-flight duck in north London was broken with a brace on his competitive home debut versus Leicester, with a dream start to life in north London seeing Arsenal earn immediate favour in football betting markets – to the point that they are now 5/6 for a top-four finish and long-awaited return to a Champions League stage.
GABRIEL JESUS’ FIRST ARSENAL GOAL IS A BEAUTY 🤙 pic.twitter.com/GJxX1xG2Us
— GOAL (@goal) August 13, 2022
In order for that collective target to be hit, individually high standards are going to have to be maintained. If the Gunners are to truly fire in 2022-23, then Jesus is going to have a leading role to play. The hope is that no miracles are required, but a few prayers may need to be answered.
A loyal fan base has grown tired of false dawns, of becoming nearly-men in a division they once dominated, and considerable faith and trust is now being placed in an expensively-assembled squad that leans heavily on potential.
There is plenty of pedigree, and few tick that particular box more than Jesus. He collected 10 trophies across five-and-a-half years at Manchester City, with a winning mentality brought with him to an area of the English capital that needs a few gentle reminders of what it takes to cross that line.
Early signs were very encouraging, and it could be that a proven goal-getter goes on to become the latest member of an exclusive club at Arsenal. While the club has remained competitive across the Premier League era, only six men have broken the 20-goal mark on a top-flight stage.
G. JESUS 9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/MbbuG3K0nW
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 21, 2022
Ian Wright was the first of those – achieving the feat on two occasions – before all-time leading marksman Thierry Henry scored 20-plus in five successive campaigns between 2001-02 and 2005-06. Emmanuel Adebayor hit 24 in 2007-08, Robin van Persie claimed a Golden Boot with 30 in 2011-12 and Alexis Sanchez contributed 24 five years later.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang recorded 22 league efforts in back-to-back seasons when at the peak of his powers, but Arsenal have been crying out for somebody to fill that void since their last prolific No.14 headed through the exits.
It may be a little premature to suggest that Jesus – a man who only twice made it to double figures in the Premier League for City – can become the latest star to hit a fabled mark for the Gunners given how much football is still to be played this term.
If a supply line remains in full working order, though, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe on hand to provide the ammunition, then there is every reason to believe that Jesus can put both himself and an expectant band of Arsenal supporters in seventh heaven.