Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus has been called out by West Ham ace Michail Antonio after the Brazilian claimed goalscoring isn’t his “strongest suit”. Jesus has scored just three times in the Premier League this season, with the Gunners falling five points behind leaders Liverpool earlier this month following a dismal run of form over the festive period.
Jesus was named on the bench for his side’s trip to Fulham on Sunday after blanking against Liverpool and West Ham either side of Christmas Day. The 26-year-old has only notched against Manchester United, Luton and Brighton in the top-flight this season, with the Gunners scoring fewer league goals than any other club in the top five.
In November, Jesus failed to find the back of the net during a World Cup qualifier against Argentina as Brazil were defeated 1-0. And after the clash, the player explained: “Scoring goals is inevitable [but] it is not my strongest suit. I play to score a goal, that’s why I’m in the national team. Scoring goals [again] will happen naturally.”
The comments raised eyebrows at the time. And now Antonio has had his say on the matter. “I feel like Jesus killed himself when he went away with Brazil and said, ‘I’m not a goalscoring striker, I’m not a goalscoring forward,’” the Englishman said.
“I feel like, I don’t think that’s something a player in his position should have said, being the No 9 for Arsenal. I feel like he is quality, he is an unbelievable player and he should have the confidence that he is a goalscoring forward for the career that he’s had. The amount of times he came off the bench and scored for Man City, he is a bagsman.
“But right now he is obviously feeling the pressure with everyone saying he is not scoring enough. Before the injury he was bagging so many goals – he is a goalscorer.
“Nobody can tell him that he isn’t a goalscorer but, because he’s at Arsenal and he’s not scoring as frequently as he was before, people start talking about it and you have to defend yourself.”
Jesus missed a gilt-edged chance during Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to the Hammers in late December. And Antonio added: “These things can mess with your mind and can make you miss the chances like he missed against West Ham, because he’s overthinking it rather than just sticking his head on the ball.”