Arsenal deserve ‘massive credit’ due to Gabriel Jesus says Carragher
Jamie Carragher insists Arsenal deserve “massive credit” for their Premier League title charge not coming undone in the absence of talismanic striker Gabriel Jesus. The Brazil striker was a pivotal player for the Gunners in the first half of the season with his five goals and six assists helping them go into the World Cup with 14 wins from 16 games.
But the 25-year-old has not played since November 12 after undergoing surgery on a knee injury sustained out in Qatar while playing for his country. The ex-Manchester City centre-forward is now close to full fitness again but has missed Arsenal’s last 12 league games.
His stand-in Eddie Nketiah has stepped up with four Premier League goals since the World Cup, in wins over West Ham, Brighton and Manchester United. While Bukayo Saka – with 10 top-flight goals and nine assists – and the 11-goal Gabriel Martinelli havetoo been sensational.
And Carragher, who named Jesus a “revelation”, insists for that Mikel Arteta and co deserve major praise. He said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football: “A big thing we should give Arsenal credit for, I think when Jesus got injured they were five points clear of Man City.
“How long’s he been injured? Three months? They’re still five points clear. You’ve got to give them massive credit for that because there were a lot of questions asked. He’s about to come back and he was an absolute revelation in those early months.”
Speaking on Arsenal’s come-from-behind 3-2 win over Bournemouth at the weekend, Carragher added: “I’ve always had the feeling that if you want to win a league, you’re going to have to score late goals. The thing that stands out is the quality of the goals. Reiss Nelson’s goal is sensational.
“I was listening in my car and I was celebrating! You look at those celebrations – is that a good thing or is that a bad thing? There’s so long to go and you get the fun police out there saying, ‘You shouldn’t be doing this, you shouldn’t be doing that.’
“Celebrate it, go for it, embrace it! If Arsenal win the league that moment will be remembered forever and he’ll be an Arsenal legend for that moment. We’ll be watching it back for years to come if Arsenal go on and win the league.
“The narrative around Arsenal is because they haven’t won it. When we’re saying, ‘Is this a positive?’ If Man City score in the last minute, we say ‘oh great mentality!’ Because it’s Arsenal we’re saying, ‘They’re choking, they’ve got to score in the last minute cause they’re not playing well enough.’ That narrative will change if they win it.”
Arsenal are hoping to have Jesus back on the pitch before the international break, with a trip to Fulham and the visit of Crystal Palace their only remaining league games in March. Next month, the Gunners face a potential make-or-break run of games against Leeds (H), Liverpool (A), West Ham (A), Southampton (H), Man City (A) and Chelsea (H).
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