Gabriel injury: why no replacement is needed



By Sir Hardly Anyone

The Gabriel injury has been something that the media has been desperately waiting for.  Having universally predicted a season of failure for Arsenal they have ceaselessly been playing catch-up through the season as Arsenal have fulfilled the promise of the last 35 games of last season – something few of the media reported at the time (in contrast to the number of column inches devoted to the first three games).

But now they are able to return to the chaos and collapse reporting about Arsenal that they so love. Goal has immediately jumped in with the headline “Which Arsenal games will Gabriel Jesus miss” while what is rather jokingly called an “analysis”  in the Telelgraph there is the declaration, “Injury to Arsenal’s talisman makes title challenge almost impossible”.

They then proclaim that “If there is one player that Arsenal cannot afford to lose for an extended amount of time, it is Gabriel Jesus. The Brazil striker has been the most important player in Arsenal’s drive up the table this season, providing a new level of dynamism and intensity in their attack.”

So let’s look at the overall picture .   If we create a league table in terms of goal scoring it reads….


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 10 2 2 40 14 26 32
2 Arsenal 14 12 1 1 33 11 22 37
3 Tottenham Hotspur 15 9 2 4 31 21 10 29
4 Newcastle United 15 8 6 1 29 11 18 30


Arsenal are the second most prolific team in the league – and it is noticeable that Manchester City have been considerably off form in recent games, scoring just seven goals in the last five league matches compared with 33 in the previous nine!

So let us consider Arsenal’s attacking options this season with figures from 11v11


Player Position Played Sub Scored
Martin Odegaard Midfielder 15 4 6
Gabriel Jesus Forward 16 4 5
Gabriel Martinelli Forward 17 3 5
Bukayo Saka Defender/Midfielder/Forward 16 4 5
Granit Xhaka Defender/Midfielder 18 2 4
Eddie Nketiah Forward 7 12 3


There is no hiding the fact that Gabriel Jesus has scored five, but one of the most remarkable things about Arsenal this season is the level of scoring around the team.   This is not to say that an injured Gabriel Jesus would not be missed, but the notion that Arsenal are utterly dependent on him and have never once thought about what they would do if here were injured in the crazy games this winter is ludicrous.

Everyone knows that some players return from the WC crippled, and clubs prepare for that.  But now quite how the media describe.  For example FoLo has as its top story “Cristiano Ronaldo could solve Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus injury problem”.  I’ll leave you to contemplate that one.

Sportv, tell us that the player will return to London for surgery.   “The procedure means Jesus could miss three months of action for Mikel Arteta’s table toppers.”  Note the world “could”.

But in reality what is most likely to happen?  Eddie has been kept out of the side because of the settled nature of the team in the first third of the season, but when he has had a chance in the Europa league has knocked in a couple of goals.

Folarin Balogun has scored eight times for Reims this season which is not bad for a club that is half way down the French League and has only scored 16 goals in total.   Scoring 50% of your club’s goals, in a side that has only won three games is not a bad feat.

But we should also not forget that we do have another player coming into the squad for the last two-thirds of the season: Emile Smith Rowe.  And indeed way back in February Arteta is quoted as saying of Smith Rowe, “I think he can play in four positions. As a left winger, a left attacking midfielder, a right attacking midfielder and he can play as a nine, very, very well.”

That last part of the sentence is one that doesn’t fit with the media’s “Arsenal in chaos” format and thus we might return to the Mirror wherein a certain Samuel Meade who is defined as their “Sports Brand Writer” (whichever that is) gives us this opinion:

“Gary Neville had warned Arsenal that they were “done” if they lost Gabriel Jesus for a prolonged period as fears grow around his injury.   However, there is one cause for festive cheer at Emirates Stadium, as Eddie Nketiah was on target in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Watford on Saturday afternoon. According to GOAL, the 23-year-old and Marquinhos scored in the first half to give the Gunners a 2-1 lead at half-time.”

What they don’t say of course is that our top scorer is Odegaard (six).  Martinelli and Saka both have five (exactly as Gabriel has) and Xhaka has four.

So Arsenal have scored 21 goals through their top four goal scoring players.   One of those four is now injured for a while.   Does that really mean we have to rush out and buy a replacement?

12 Replies to “Gabriel injury: why no replacement is needed”

  1. Nketiah will never be good enough and nor will Balogun. End of.
    And it’s the work rate, assists and confidence Jesus bring’s that will be missed.

    Regardless of his injury we still need a frontman signing.

    We just don’t learn at this club.
    Another wages cock up, giving Nketiah 100,000 pound a week was so bad.
    Should have gotten rid then and got someone else in.
    We’ll be stuck with another player because of those wages.

  2. An interesting set of opinions Robert, but I wonder if you have any evidence. It is most interesting that you say “We just don’t learn at this club” – which makes the basis of your argument that the club is run by rather stupid people. But what makes you believe that people with contrary views outside the club are brighter? I’d be glad to know.

  3. “If there is one player that Arsenal cannot afford to lose for an extended amount of time, it is Gabriel Jesus. The Brazil striker has been the most important player in Arsenal’s drive up the table this season, providing a new level of dynamism and intensity in their attack.”

    Out of 33 PL goals Jesus has been involved in 10. 5 Goals + 5 Assists.

    Surely if that statement applies to Jesus and Arsenal, it applies even more so to Man City and Haaland.

    Out of 40 PL goals Haaland has been involved 21. 18 goals + 3 Assists.

    That means Jesus has been involved with 30% of Arsenals goals whereas Halland has been involved in 53% of Man City’s goals. And just for a bit of additional perspective Kanes contribution to Spurs 31 goals is around 40% with 12 + 1. They at least have 3 other scorers with 4 plus goals.

    So why no warnings about Man City’s much higher reliance on Haaland, (or indeed Spurs and Kane)? Surely out of the 2, if anyone’s over dependent on one player it’s Man City (Possibly Spurs) and not Arsenal? After all we have, as pointed out in Tonys article, 5 other players with 4 goals or more. City have just 1. Again, as pointed out above, we have the return of Smith-Rowe, who was, excluding penalties, Arsenals top scorer last season.

    So, the theory is, despite Man City’s obvious over reliance on Haaland, everyone else will simply step up to the plate and fill the goal scoring void, despite the evidence to the contrary. Whereas in Arsenals case, and again despite the evidence to the contrary, the loss of Jesus will mean our wide range of goal scoring contributors will suddenly all become a quivering mass of ineptitude.

    Yep, sounds about par for the course when it comes to analysing Arsenal in the media.

  4. Nketiah got a new contract with 100k pw because when he eventually got to start a run of games his goal scoring record & work rate was impressive. Recently broke Shearers U21 record goal tally too. Yeah, a complete waste of space. Not!

  5. Martinelli could be the perfect option to replace Jesus. An established winger like Murk will be nice.

  6. kc

    Of course, Martinelli could fill that role, but he would certainly have to step up his goal scoring return. We already have a better option sat on the bench in the shape of Nketiah. This is how they match up on goals scored since they broke into the first team squad.


    Arena – Goals – Mins – Goals per Game

    EPL – 16 – 4298 – 268
    Other – 3 1214 – 404

    Total = 19 goals over 5512 mins at 290 mins per goal


    EPL – 11 – 2078 – 189
    Other – 14 – 1879 – 134

    Total = 25 goals over 3957 mins at 158 mins per goal

    So, Nketiah not only scores more goals per minute than Martinelli overall, almost twice the rate in fact, but he also scores more goals per minute in the Premier League.

    And just for context Tottenham’s SON scores at a goal every 180 minutes in the Premier League and nobody suggests he’s not a decent back up for Kane and has been so admirably on many occasions.

    Given these stats, to suggest, as Mr Bradshaw has above, that Nketiah is not already a credible back up with the potential to be even better is disingenuous at best and frankly insulting.

    As for Murk, of course that would be nice.

    In my piece above I’m not suggesting signings wouldn’t help. My point is how the media always infer it is ONLY ARSENAL that would be affected by the loss of a key player, as with failed manager and United thug Nevilles assertion that Arsenal are ‘done’ without Jesus.

    Whereas of course if Man City lost Haaland, Spurs lost Kane, or anyone else for that matter lost a key player, they’d all just sail on serenely as if nothing had happened.

    But Arsenal of course are ‘done’

  7. Is that a football story from FoLo or have they branched out into writing Christmas cracker jokes? The Ronaldo line made me chuckle

  8. First 15 minutes.

    Do Brazil really need to dive around like dyeing swans to win against the lowest ranked team left in the competition?

    I forgot; he plays for spurs.

    I love to watch Brazil as much as the next man, but really? Embarrassing.

  9. Lewis Winter writing in the Express today talks about Martinelli and Arsenal having reached a “contract stalemate”. Laughable “journalism” from an outsider looking in.

  10. Leadership on the field is imperative!

    GJ has great leadership qualities; which is evident in multiple respects:—— all action dedicated support to teammates, all over the pitch, goals, assists, movement off the ball, plus sharing defensive responsibility. He will be greatly missed!

    However, GJ is not alone in possesing the above noted talents! These are widely shared throughout a team of leaders! No place now for any singular “big ego”, just big players, all producing their very best for the team; and for any missing talisman, such as GJ and ESR . Not to ignore the underlying foundation, support, and positive inspiration, represented by those that are pressing, and eager, to join, the “top table”!

    The Manager, MA,;as was the case with AW for so many seasons before, is the key ,and the catalyst, for the energy, focus, direction, of team, and club, individually and collectively. This is Arsenal, and we are in an excellent position to reach our goals and laugh at the negativity that the media love to wallow in!


  11. Paul Merson in the Express today – “This is the first time since 2004 that they’ve had a serious, serious chance of winning the title.”

    Has Merson written 2008 out of the history books?

  12. Ramires (also in the Express) says that “huge clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus will come knocking on the door” for Martinelli. ” At Arsenal, he is playing for a huge club with lots of ambition, but of course, there’s always going to be another level.” Serie B perhaps?

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