Arsenal: Matthew Upson claims Gabriel Jesus injury is massive blow

Image for Arsenal: Matthew Upson claims Gabriel Jesus injury is massive blow

Losing Gabriel Jesus to injury is a huge blow to Arsenal as they aim to challenge for the title, BBC pundit Matthew Upson has claimed.

The former England defender, who had a short spell at Arsenal, claimed that the injury suffered by their star striker is a loss that could derail their title hopes.

The Gunners currently sit top of the Premier League, five points clear of Manchester City, losing just one game so far.

However, Jesus picked up a long-term injury during the World Cup, meaning he is set to be sidelined for the next few months, having been a star performer during this remarkable run.

Speaking on TalkSport, Upson praised the Brazilian’s impact on the team – but lamented his absence:

“Obviously, the loss of Jesus for a period of time is a massive hammer blow,” he stated.

“I don’t think they’ve got another player who’s as good out of possession as what he is.

“It sounds daft as a centre-forward, but one of his main contributions to that team is how good he is without the ball and he sets off the press and how hard he works.

“That’s going to be a big challenge for Mikel Arteta to fill that void or play a little bit differently with Nketiah, just to be a goal threat, but maybe if he can adopt that kind of style as well, that’ll be interesting.”

TIF Thoughts on Jesus…

Despite only scoring five Premier League goals  and ending the first half of the season on an 11-game goal drought in all competitions, the 25-year-old’s role in the team cannot be understated.

Statistics show how off-the-ball contributions in pressing, dribbling and link-up play have helped other attackers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka improve the team as a whole, and even if he is not scoring, he helps create goals through his all-round play.

Indeed, as per FBref, Jesus ranks in the top 5% of strikers for shot-creating actions, dribbles, attacking penalty area touches, tackles and interceptions, highlighting how good his overall play is, and losing a player of that quality may have a significant impact.

Although Eddie Nketiah is a good rotational option, there is now an extra onus on him to try and replicate Jesus’ style during his absence as he tries to nail down a role in the team.

Share this article