One of the main criticisms of Gabriel Jesus, often from fans who don’t actually watch him weekly, is that he isn’t prolific.
If he does leave Manchester City for Arsenal, though, he will do so with 95 goals and 46 assists from 236 appearances, or a goal contribution every 101 minutes. That’s hardly a striker who doesn’t know where the goal is, and another criticism often aimed at Jesus is that he doesn’t affect the big games.
That could be because he is often overlooked for the more important Premier League fixtures or the big European nights. However, when he does get the nod on the big stage, he’s got an impressive record of taking his chance when it comes.
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We’ve picked out six of Jesus’ most memorable moments in a City shirt, showing what City could be losing out on – and Arsenal could be gaining:
Southampton (A), 2018
The moment that fans will remember Jesus for most, after a promising first 18 months at City, this was the game that will ensure he always has a place in Blues history.
With the Premier League title all secured, City were targeting a unique record to become the first side to reach 100 points in the division. Until Jesus was introduced on 59 minutes, it looked as though they would fall agonizingly short on 98 points – a worry that continued until second half injury time.
Then Jesus did the rest, latching onto a long ball, lobbing the keeper, and sending the entire City squad and traveling fans into ecstasy.
Watford, FA Cup Final, 2019
In his first few seasons at City, Jesus got most of his guaranteed games in the cups, and in 2018/19, he scored three and assisted two on the way to the FA Cup final. He was rewarded with a start at Wembley and didn’t waste his chance against Watford.
His first goal might still cause some debate in the City dressing room as he side-footed goalwards, only for Raheem Sterling to make sure on the line, but the assist on the break for Kevin De Bruyne and the cool one-on-one finish in the second half were definitely his.
It was an all-action performance that helped him get the nod for future big games, and showed the value of taking those chances in the cups as much as possible.
Real Madrid (A), 2020
Despite his cup final heroics the year before, Jesus was still a surprise inclusion at the Bernabeu in the Champions League last 16, particularly on the left wing.
But it was a role he thrived in, as City produced one of their very best performances under Pep Guardiola. He put in a tireless shift, helping keep shape, protect his full-back, but also cause Real plenty of problems. After falling behind, Jesus was in the right place to head in De Bruyne’s smart cross with a clever header back across goal, before De Bruyne scored a penalty to put City ahead.
When Jesus was through on goal to look for a third, he cleverly tempted Sergio Ramos into a foul and a red card to rule him out of the second leg. If it was a statement performance from City as a team, it was also arguably a breakthrough performance from Jesus.
Real Madrid (H), 2020
Understandably, after such an impressive outing at the Bernabeu, Jesus was a starter in the second leg, delayed for months due to the pandemic.
When the game came around, though, Jesus picked up where he left off in Madrid, stealing the ball off a complacent Raphael Varane to set up Raheem Sterling for an early goal.
And Varane hadn’t learned his lesson in the second half, as he completely misjudged a long ball, allowing Jesus to run through and finish brilliantly from a tight angle.
Chelsea A, 2021
City faced a season-defining run last Autumn with trips to Chelsea and Liverpool either side of a Champions League away trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Defeat in all three might have been crucial in their hopes of winning silverware at the end of the campaign.
But in a tight game at Chelsea, Jesus popped up with the winner in a crowded area to knock back Chelsea’s title hopes, and he later set up Phil Foden at Anfield as City came away with a useful draw. Without those three points, City wouldn’t have been champions.
Watford (H) 2022
As the season wore on, Jesus continued to impress on the right wing, but reports would come out in April that he wanted to return to a central role and may be open to leaving City to find the regular games he wanted.
He was given a start in the next game, a home clash against Championship-bound Watford, when City knew they must win every game to win the title. A goal within four minutes and another before half-time – plus a brilliant assist for Rodri – sent the message that he would do his talking on the pitch – before he completed his hat-trick with a penalty four minutes after the break.
A fourth goal soon after was nothing less than he deserved, reminding City of his qualities through the middle and quashing any suggestions that he isn’t clinical or prolific.