Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus has admitted that the north London derby against Tottenham is “all” his teammates are talking about in preparation of the game. It will be the Brazilian’s first taste of the fiery clash between the two clubs since joining the Gunners in the summer.
The 25-year-old joined to help solve Mikel Arteta’s woes in the forward line, hitting the ground running with four goals and three assists in his opening seven matches. His quality both on and off the ball has elevated Arsenal to another level, sitting top of the league going into the local rivalry.
“Individual actions make a difference in football and Gabriel Jesus is doing them week in, week out,” Arteta said last month. “He was involved in the goals and his contributions to the team have been outstanding. He’s still 25 so he can improve his level a lot. He is hungry enough and has huge desire to get better and better.”
However, in Tottenham, the Gunners find themselves a different type of challenge to any they’ve faced so far. Their only clash against a so-called top six side ended in defeat to Manchester United, who were much more conservative in their style after a difficult opening to their campaign but still leaked chances that could’ve swung the game either way.
Antonio Conte’s side are a lot harder to break down, often giving up chances to the opposition that reduces their chance of scoring. While there are still questions over the Italian’s style, their unbeaten start has put them in the mix early into the campaign and makes for a tough test.
It’s a huge games for both sets of fans, who will want the bragging rights over their rivals, but clearly the players know the magnitude too, as explained by Jesus. Speaking to ESPN in the lead up to the game, he said: “All the players are talking about the derby. It’s all about the derby. ‘You’re going to see what a derby is. Derby, derby…'”
“I’ve had some experience of derbies, like when I played for Palmeiras, City and Brazil. So, I know what a derby is, but I never played one Arsenal versus Tottenham here. So, it will be my first and I hopefully to get the win, not only in my first but all the derbies that I will play.”