Jamie Redknapp says the “magnificent” Gabriel Jesus has transformed Arsenal, with his standards setting an example for the rest of the squad.
The Gunners cruised to a 3-0 win at Bournemouth as their flawless start continued to propel them to the top of the Premier League.
Man of the match Jesus had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half but played a key role in Martin Odegaard’s first-half opener before setting up the Norwegian midfielder’s second, bringing his total of participations to five goals in three games.
“The upgrade that Jesus has given them is beyond comprehension for what they have had before,” he said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp.
“I used to see Arsenal forwards walking around, playing tippy-tappy football. Jesus is in and around, he wants to get hurt, he makes challenges, he’s been fantastic for this club. The standards he sets, not only in matches, but in training, he sets the right example for everyone.
“He’s always been a good player, we looked up to him at Manchester City, but you never felt that he was the number nine. You always felt that it was (Sergio) Aguero or whoever, he was a player they turned to if they did. injuries or played him on the left or the right. Here, he is the focal point of the team and he is doing things that are just magnificent.”
Jesus, 25, has looked a steal since sealing a £45m move to Arsenal this summer. Mikel Arteta handed him the number nine shirt, supporting him in the front line, and Jesus has accepted the challenge.
“I think he’s hungry enough to continue this form and he’s got the players around him to do exactly that,” said the former Arsenal striker and Sky Sports expert Alan Smith.
“Coaches have said privately that he’s transformed the team. He’s made the difference with the options he gives his teammates, those smart players who can place him.
“With some players the shirt will take a lot, but with others, like Jesus, they have given him the number nine and with that there are expectations, but he is enjoying the responsibility. He knows he is the first choice and that gives you confidence. It’s a very different role. from Manchester City and he’s been seen in such a different way.”
This time last year, some Arsenal fans were calling for Arteta to be axed with his side bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening three games.
Now, it’s the polar opposite and a question of how far can Arsenal go?
“They are full of confidence, there is great energy in the squad. The new players have really added to what they are trying to achieve here,” said Redknapp.
“It’s very early in the season but there are real reasons to be optimistic about this squad. They are very, very impressive at the moment. They look a formidable team, very, very strong.
“They’ve got resilience, quite real, they’ve got options – (Emile) Smith Rowe and (Kieran) Tierney coming off the bench, you start to look at this Arsenal team and think, ‘Why can’t they go on and actually get something?’
“It’s going to be tough, there are some real challenges ahead, but they’ve got some good games ahead of them. If you’re an Arsenal fan, you should be very proud of this team right now.”
What’s next for Arsenal?
Arsenal are back in action Saturday night football when they host Fulham in a 5.30pm kick-off live on Sky Sports on August 27.