Brazilian striker tipped to make big impact on Premier League this season
Manchester City fans had a lot to be excited about last season. Having been announced halfway through the campaign prior, former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola had arrived at The Etihad ready to spend big and take them to the next level in Europe.
While things didn’t quite go to plan for the Spaniard in his maiden season as a manager in English football, one real bonus was the glimpse he and the fans in the blue half of Manchester got of Brazilian starlet Gabriel Jesus.
The Olympic champion, who was painting streets in Brazil ahead of the World Cup just a few years ago, officially arrived as a City player in January despite having singed for the club in the summer before, and he made an instant impact.
He scored an impressive seven goals in ten games for the Sky Blues before having his first Premier League season prematurely ended at Bournemouth, where he was replaced by club legend Sergio Aguero who had to take the chance to wrestle his place in the side back from the youngster, having been ousted due to his form.
It says a lot that, despite just the seven goals, Aguero’s future has remained up for debate at times this summer due to the presence of Jesus in the squad. The 20-year-old, who is now a staple in his national side, has a big year ahead of him.
There are few prizes that his countrymen value higher than the World Cup and with Russia 2018 set to loom over the Premier League season to come, it’ll be a big year for those vying for a spot on the plane or wanting to carry form over to the summer.
If he is to be in fine form going into the tournament in nine months’ time, Jesus will need to be Pep’s main man once again, which all starts with the opening weekend when they face newly promoted Brighton this weekend.
Jesus is expected to start and, considering his eye for goal and the opposition, is a steal at 16/5 odds on some betting sites to open the scoring.
Jesus has often been commended for his down-to-earth attitude, the polar opposite of his national team captain Neymar who has just forced a highly lucrative world-record move to Paris Saint Germain from Barcelona, which will have him in good standing under his demanding manager.
If he can get a run of games and goals under his belt early in the season, thus establishing himself as the talisman of Guardiola’s preferred front three, with fellow exciting youngsters Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling either side of him, then it could be quite the season for the striker.
He will, of course, not play week-in, week-out with Aguero such an asset still, but Guardiola clearly sees a long term plan for the Brazilian, meaning he will be given every chance, both in the Premier League and on the European stage, to impress upon his peers, the coaching staff and the fans – if they need any more convincing.
Having been out for such a long spell, there could be concerns over his match-fitness and form going into the new season. However, if you take into account that before making his barnstorming breakthrough in the Premier League he had gone two months without competitive football, with the Brazilian league ending in November, and was yet to play alongside his teammates, it seems unlikely that getting back into the swing of things will take time.
With a wealth of attacking talent in and around him after two summers of unprecedented investment from Guardiola, and the potential arrival of Arsenal’s star man Alexis Sanchez still a slight possibility, it could well be his year to flourish at the heart of a much fancied title winning side.
Tournament years can often make or break stars in the Premier League, and a subsequent strong performance with the national side at the end of it can take a player to the next level. With that in mind, starting strong becomes imperative for the enigmatic forward, and you’d back him all the way.