Sunday 31 July 2022

Jesus Makes Marmalade Out Of The Seville Oranges!

The super striker roadshow finally came to the Emirates, as Gabriel Jesus nailed his goalscoring credentials to the Arsenal mast, or should it be corner flags?

I feel a song coming on:
'Jesus Gabs
Wears number 9
Faster than a car'.

Well, I'm not sure he's the fastest at the club, but he can certainly accelerate.

Maybe the last line should be: 'And he sets the bar' because he has certainly set the bar high by scoring so many goals in Arsenal's best pre-season in recent memory.

Quite honestly, I've never seen Arsenal hitting this kind of pre-season form against strong opposition in my life before. Of course, it may not translate into league form, but when players perform badly before the season kicks off in earnest, you can usually read something into it.

For example, when Fabianski first arrived, he dropped the ball when coming out to claim it against Barnet. It was one of the most nervous Arsenal debuts I'd ever seen and I had second thoughts about him. Obviously, he's gone on to have a decent career at Swansea and West Ham, but it never filled me with confidence to see him between the sticks.

Even Almunia was a safer option, in my opinion, and the then-manager Arsene Wenger must have agreed, as he drafted in 'the Spanish waiter' and, personally, I thought the defence was marginally better. In other words, this is an example of how a poor pre-season can make the forthcoming campaign something to dread and, if that's so, why can't the reverse be the case?

Without further ado, let's hit the first-eleven ratings versus Sevilla, a team that don't generally concede many. I still can't believe Arsenal hit them for six!

Ramsdale 7 - looked confident, but wasn't really tested.

White 7 - has fitted in well at right back, but will be tested on Friday against Palace's Zaha. Over-ran the ball a couple of times.

Saliba 8 - a faultless display and some amazing trickery when he needed to get out of jail.

Gabriel 7 - generally comfortable.

Zinchenko 8 - raking, diagonal passes, perfect positioning and has proved he is a 'plug-and-play' signing.

Saka 8 - two goals and always with a trick up his sleeve. A cool penalty-taker.

Odegaard 8 - finally confirmed as the new club captain. Another solid performance with measured passing and incredible workrate. Arsenal couldn't ask for more from a skipper, who leads by example.

Partey 7 - an essential lynchpin in the side, who keeps everything ticking over in the middle. However, he was guilty of a couple of stray passes.

Xhaka 6 - very vocal in the team huddle, more so than Odegaard. However, he had a relatively quiet game.

Martinelli 8 - a proper team player, setting up sub Nketiah for a goal at the end. He caused the opponents no end of problems.

Jesus 9 - a hat trick on his home debut. How do you top that? Sharp as a brand new razor blade, he cut Sevilla to shreds, turning those oranges into marmalade.

Transfer news
Nuno Tavares is off to Marseille for the season. Good luck, Nuno!  

Terry Neill
I was a big fan of Terry, even though he'd managed Spurs previously. He brought the excitement back to Arsenal, making the Gunners a cup team.

I never met him, but he seemed to have a bubbly personality, which is suggested by the some of the big names he brought to the club like Malcolm Macdonald and Charlie Nicholas.

Maria Petri
I was lucky enough to meet Maria on Arsenal's pre-season tour of Asia in 2013 in Japan.

Although I didn't really know her well, she seemed such a positive person and was always smiling, enjoying following her favourite team over land and sea.

My thoughts are with both her family and Terry Neill's, at what must be a difficult time.

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