Arsenal beat Nurnberg: Five things we learned as Gabriel Jesus bags debut brace | Football | Sport


Arsenal’s new £45million signing Gabriel Jesus made an immediate impact on his Gunners debut by scoring a brace after coming off the bench against Nurnberg. Mikel Arteta’s side had gone 2-0 down in the first half before goals from Jesus and Mohamed Elneny – along with a couple of own goals – helped seal a thrilling 5-3 win.

Arteta named a weakened team for the friendly, with a host of first-team players rested for the game. Jesus was made to wait until the second half for his first minutes in an Arsenal shirt, while Matt Turner started in goal.

Reiss Nelson, Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who all spent time away on loan last season, all started the game, but were unable to stop the German side from running away with a 2-0 lead early on.

Arsenal eventually got themselves back in the game after Arteta rang in the changes at the interval, but there were certainly lessons to be learned from the game. Express Sport has identified five things we learned from the friendly.

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Jesus’ immediate impact

Jesus made an immediate impact on his Arsenal debut, and already looked a brilliant acquisition to the team. Replacing Alexandre Lacazette up top, he provided a different option in the attacking third and was a constant menace running at the defence.

The Brazilian wasn’t afraid to drop into wide areas to collect the ball, but seemed most comfortable through the middle making darting runs behind the defence. It seems Arteta has finally got a long-term solution in the central striker position.

No defensive midfielder

Arsenal’s transfer priority has been to bring in a new goalscorer, which they did with the £45m capture of Jesus from Manchester City. And with Raphinha being eyed, it’s not hard to tell Arteta wants more firepower.

But as was evidenced by the first two goals of the game, Arsenal are still missing a defensive midfielder sitting in front of the back line to act as cover. For the first goal in particular, Johannes Geis had time to take a touch on the edge of the area before cannoning an effort off the crossbar past Turner.

It seems despite Arsenal’s shrewd business regarding signing top-class attackers, they still need one or two players in before the deadline.

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Bellerin’s second chance

The defender is still widely expected to leave this summer following a successful loan spell with boyhood club Real Betis last summer. Recent reports indicate the Gunners are not prepared to allow the 27-year-old to depart on a free transfer, with Serie A clubs Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus and Roma all linked.

Bellerin is said to be keen on sealing a return to Betis, but was handed the captain’s armband in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly win over Ipswich. The Spain international was also handed a start in Arsenal’s latest friendly encounter.

As it stands, it is looking increasingly likely that Bellerin could see out the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium. But regardless of the uncertainty over the full-back’s future, it appears Arteta is willing to include the defender in his plans for the new season.

Nketiah’s future

Eddie Nketiah appeared to be on course to follow Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette out of the exit door a matter of months ago. The former Leeds loanee instead agreed a new long-term contract, rumoured to last until the summer of 2027.

Jesus’ arrival would suggest the Brazil international will take the lead role in attack, although the former Manchester City star has often proved productive in wide roles too. The pair combined to impressive effect on this occasion with Nketiah occupying a slightly deeper role.

The former England youth international’s shot inadvertently led to Arsenal’s fourth goal on the night, with Tim Handwerker accidentally turning the ball into his own net. The signing of Jesus provides Arteta with options in attack, and Friday night’s encounter provided a glimpse of how the £45m man could work in tandem with Nketiah.

Sluggish first-half

It was a worrying first-half display from the Gunners against the German second-division outfit. Arsenal found themselves two goals down at the break, with Geis and Duah both netting before the break.

There was plenty of experience on the pitch for the visitors, but Arteta’s side were slow in possession and struggled to create. The Arsenal boss made four changes at the break, and within 12 second-half minutes they found themselves in front.

Tougher tests lie ahead for the Gunners before they begin their Premier League campaign, with clashes against Chelsea and Everton to come before the Emirates Cup. It is too early to make judgements on performances, but Arteta will not have been pleased with what he saw from his side in the first-half.


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