Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday December 2, 2023.

Gabriel Jesus sprinkled samba magic around the Emirates with hold-up play that would make R9 weep

What do the Dudley Boyz, Vodka Red Bulls and Arsenal and the 3pm kick-off slot all have in common? They’re lethal combinations, potent enough to end any human life form.

Wolves very quickly learned that the hard way as they found themselves 2-0 down inside 13 minutes away to Arsenal, a seriously rude awakening for a side that has continually exceeded expectations so far this season and only fallen foul due to rotten luck.

Gary O’Neil dunking on former employers Bournemouth and then going onto Monday Night Football to explain how he masterminded it was one of the coldest moments of the 2023, but his side were on the receiving end of a masterclass themselves as Gabriel Jesus ran riot for Arsenal.

Jesus has largely been a hit among Gunners fans since signing from Manchester City in 2022, but that isn’t to say he’s been perfect.

And when your number one striker is telling media outlets that ‘goals are not [his] strong point’, it sets off some rather loud and menacing alarm bells.

Not having a Brazilian passport is one thing, but not having goals in your locker as a striker is a cardinal sin. Missing both of those things is a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully for the Brazilian centre-forward, he seems to have found balance in the force. When he’s scoring goals, the Brazilian passport appears to go missing. But when he’s not firing them in, the Joga Bonito rears its head and Arsenal cook up total football that would bring a tear to the eye of the late, great Johan Cruyff – because of Jesus’ brilliance.

When he’s on it, there aren’t many defenders in world football who can stop him in his tracks. Wolves felt the brunt of that as he combined with Bukayo Saka for an Arsenal opener that leaves you doing your best Gary Neville impressions.

Seriously, pure filth. An absolute clinic in combining dirty hold-up play with Brazilian flair that can’t be taught.

Let’s give Saka his flowers, too. To thread a pass through a gap we didn’t even think existed, getting the ball to Jesus in the first place, is pretty absurd.

But then the Brazilian – inevitably – steals the show with a play straight from the boom of R9, jousting with Toti Gomes before making both him and the onrushing Tommy Doyle look like a pair of book ends, as he seamlessly glides the ball behind him with a disgusting dragback.

It’s the type of stuff that has you making noises that you didn’t think were possible. Better hope the neighbours haven’t heard and alerted the authorities.

To Arteta’s delight, his number nine was at it again shortly after, finding space in an 18-yard box resembling a needle in a haystack and laying a scrumptious pass into Oleksandr Zinchenko who assisted Martin Odegaard for 2-0.

And that’s all she wrote. Wolves had been schooled; Jesus had barely broken a sweat, or even tested Jose Sa himself.

He’s far from perfect, but football isn’t meant to be that.

Instead, Jesus embodies the beauty of imperfection. A little rough around the edges, but when it all comes together, nobody’s getting close to him.

We could spend hours watching our silky samba striker flick it round corners for fun. What a player.

By Mitch Wilks

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