Gabriel Jesus has bagged five goals in 20 matches in all competitions this season pushing his Manchester City career total to 52 strikes in 120 games for the club. Despite his excellent total for the club, this season has seen Jesus struggle against the better teams in the Premier League. The Manchester City striker may have a great strike rate since arriving from Palmeiras, but in the world of big-time football, Jesus’s current performances against the league’s best teams are not good enough.
It should be asked if Jesus is the right player to lead the Manchester City line as Sergio Aguero has missed the last three Premier League matches with a muscle injury. Jesus has been tasked with playing as the Manchester City striker to lead the line and get goals. Yet, only once in those last three fixtures has he scored.
Jesus scored twice against Burnley and while those strikes will be praised, his shocking performance against Manchester United in the derby overshadowed anything he did at Turf Moor.
According to Whoscored.com, Jesus managed just three shots against the Red Devils with zero hitting the target. He took 43 touches during the 90 minutes. It was the lowest figure of all Manchester City starting outfield players. Of course, playing as the team’s main striker would mean his touches would be limited, but even when Jesus had the ball, he did little with it.
Jesus has tallied five goals which are fewer than his 7.08 expected goals according to Understat. The Manchester City striker is deceiving spectators this season after having two and a half productive seasons at the Etihad Stadium. Jesus’s previous seasons have seen him score seven, 13, and seven league goals respectively.
But it isn’t the number of goals Jesus scores, it is who he scores them against. Jesus’s five league goals have come against West Ham, Everton, Crystal Palace, and two versus Burnley. The four teams sit in 10th place or lower in the Premier League currently.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have lost to Liverpool, Manchester United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Norwich City this term, with Jesus not scoring in any of the four games. In his defence, he only played the full 90 minutes against Manchester United last weekend while coming off the bench against the other teams.
Jesus’s record against the Premier League in the goals department shows he bullies so-so teams. According to Transfermarkt, he has scored five times against Everton, the most of any team in the Premier League. In addition, he has scored three times each against West Ham and Swansea.
The Manchester City striker has scored twice against Wolves and Liverpool, although Manchester City have merely a 1W-1D-1L against both rivals when Jesus is in the team. What about against Chelsea and Manchester United? In three combined appearances, Jesus has no goals.
Is Jesus the answer?
Pep Guardiola’s team is not flush with central strikers. Aguero and Jesus are the only No. 9s that Guardiola has in the team although Raheem Sterling can play there as well.
The team’s overreliance on the two can be attributed to some of the recent goalscoring issues Manchester City have had. Would Guardiola look to replace Jesus in the transfer market? He seems content to do things his way, much like Arsene Wenger was criticised for doing at the Emirates for years.
Aguero is set to miss more game time with Jesus given the chance to shine in Manchester City’s upcoming games. With the Cityzens linked to Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, Jesus needs to perform well in big games to prove his numbers are just proof of being a flat-track bully.