Gabriel Jesus scores 2 goals in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester

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Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus, right, scores his team's second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium, London on Saturday August 13, 2022. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP )

Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, right, scores his team’s second goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium, London on Saturday August 13, 2022. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP )

PA

Gabriel Jesus was quick to make an impression at the Emirates Stadium.

The Brazilian striker marked his home debut for Arsenal with two goals and two assists in a 4-2 win over Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday.

But apparently that wasn’t enough for Jesus himself.

“He was really disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “I wouldn’t like to play against him as a defender. He’s so mobile, so intuitive, always sharp.

Jesus, who has joined Manchester City as Arsenal’s star summer signing so far, opened his account for the Gunners in the 23rd minute with a brilliant, full-loop finish. He got his second in the 35th on a header and had several chances to end the game with a hat trick.

Both times Leicester got a foothold in the game, Arsenal fought back straight away.

The visitors made it 2-1 on an own goal from William Saliba in the 53rd minute, but Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka restored the home side’s two-goal cushion two minutes later. Xhaka scored after Jesus pushed a loose ball his way when Leicester keeper Danny Ward failed to keep a routine cross into the box and collided with defender Wesley Fofana.

Leicester attacking midfielder James Maddison made it 3-2 in the 74th minute when he sent a low shot into the legs of Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

A nervous murmur ran through the crowd, but the Arsenal squad did not panic as they have in similar situations in recent seasons. Jesus came forward just a minute later and squared the ball past striker Gabriel Martinelli, who fired a left-footed shot just outside the box to beat Ward at the back post to make it 4-2 .

“It was a bit of a mixed bag for us today,” said Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers. “There were good times. But in the key moments of the match, we made mistakes.

Leicester also saw a penalty decision overturned just before half-time after the referee first pointed the spot and then was asked to consider a close-in by Ramsdale and Leicester striker Jamie Vardy in the box .

On a hot day with temperatures around 91°F (33°C), six goals and the pace of play left the players very exhausted and water breaks were required in each half. The result meant Arsenal won their first two league games, with Leicester drawing their first game.

Jesus was in the center of the attack for Arsenal throughout the match, his team-mates trying to give him the ball at every opportunity. For his first goal, he took a touch after receiving a pass from Xhaka, set himself up and then deflected a shot which took a slight deflection to go past Ward.

Jesus got a little help with his second from Vardy. The Leicester striker kicked the ball backwards across the face of the goal from a corner, and Jesus headed for an empty net at the back post.

The striker nearly scored a hat-trick before half-time when he towered over Leicester defender Jonny Evans with his back to goal, circled around in the box and fired a low shot saved by Ward. He also had several chances in the second half.

The challenge for Arsenal as far as Jesus is concerned will be to keep him fit throughout the season as he was not used to playing every game during his time at Manchester City.

“We have to handle this load,” Arteta said. “We have to be above that.”

But the manager said Jesus has already raised the standards within the team in training and in the way he connects with his teammates.

Unlike Arsenal, Leicester have been very quiet in the transfer market and will seek to retain key players like Fofana and Maddison who are attracting interest from other clubs. The team only announced their first transfer window signing on the eve of Saturday’s game. Alex Smithies, a 32-year-old back-up keeper who recently played for Cardiff, has signed with the Foxes on a two-year deal.

Rodgers hopes transfer rumors involving some of his players won’t infect the squad as a whole.

“I think it’s difficult for young players,” he said. “But you could see the spirit of the team today. The players kept going until the end.”

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