Gabriel Jesus can thrive alongside Eddie Nketiah, the youngsters look impressive and positional rotation can give Arsenal an edge – FIVE things we learned from Gunners’ comeback pre-season win
- Gabriel Jesus made a major impact as Arsenal won 5-3 against Nurnberg
- Jesus scored a brace and showed that he can play alongside Eddie Nketiah
- Arsenal’s positional rotation in the second half gave them at an extra edge
Arsenal continued their pre-season preparations with a hugely entertaining 5-3 win away to Nurnberg.
It was a disappointing first half for the Gunners, who found themselves 2-0 down, with Johannes Geis and Kwadwo Duah scoring.
However, Arsenal improved considerably after the break, helped by new signing Gabriel Jesus, who scored a brace. Mohamed Elneny also found the net with a superb strike, while Nuremberg scored two own goals. The German side did get a goal back through Lukas Schleimer, but Arsenal held on for victory.
Here are five things that we learned from the game.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal won 5-3 against Nurnberg in their second friendly of pre-season
Gabriel Jesus makes an instant impact and can play with Nketiah
Jesus’ first outing in an Arsenal shirt could hardly have started in better fashion. The striker only completed his move from Manchester City this week and he was brought on at the start of the second half against Nurnberg.
Within two minutes of his introduction, the 25-year-old picked the ball up out wide, cut inside, exchanged passes with Eddie Nketiah and then finished superbly. That will hopefully be a sign of things to come from the Brazilian striker.
It was clear that Arsenal needed a high-quality striker and Jesus could well fill that void.
Gabriel Jesus made an instant impact against Nurnberg as he scored a superb goal
Shortly after his goal Jesus showed excellent flair, with his introduction giving the whole team a significant lift.
Jesus also played a part in Arsenal’s third goal as his header went in off Christopher Schindler.
Eventually Jesus got his second goal of the game with a neat flick following a cross from Gabriel Martinelli.
This game also provided an indication that Jesus could play alongside Nketiah at times this season.
Nketiah’s link-up play and Jesus’ movement could make for an effective combination.
Tierney returns – but will he stay fit?
Arsenal fans were ecstatic to see Kieran Tierney back in the starting line-up for the first time since March.
However, that excitement was short-lived as the Scottish defender lasted just half an hour before he had to be replaced by Cedric Soares.
It may well have been the case that the substitution was pre-planned, but it remains to be seen if Arsenal can rely upon Tierney to stay fit throughout the whole season.
Understandably, given how long he had been out, Tierney looked rather rusty, but it was still a welcome sight to see him playing for Arsenal again.
With his deputy Nuno Tavares not inspiring confidence, left-back could become something of a problem position for Arsenal depending on Tierney’s fitness.
Kieran Tierney was substituted in the first half as he made his return from injury
Positional rotation can help Arsenal
Arsenal’s performance in the first half was rather slow but that all changed in the second half as substitutions were made.
Jesus’ introduction was key, but one of the most important factors behind Arsenal’s improvement was that they played with greater flexibility in the second period.
With players making intelligent runs off the ball, it was considerably more difficult for the Nurnberg players to keep Arsenal at bay.
Martinelli, for instance, often drifted in off the left flank, while Jesus also frequently cut infield.
If Arsenal are less predictable with their attacking movements then it could provide them with extra dynamism.
Gabriel Martinelli often drifted in from the left flank as Arsenal caused problems for Nurnberg
Lots of players need their futures resolved
As is usually the case in pre-season fixtures, the team that started the game for Arsenal was rather cobbled together and contained a host of players who may not be at the club when the transfer window closes.
Lots of players who started against Nurnburg have recently returned from loan spells and have been linked with moves elsewhere.
Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all fall into that category, and all of those players are at a stage where they need to be playing regularly elsewhere rather being a back-up option.
Pablo Mari is one of the players who featured who is unlikely to start the season at Arsenal
Mari, who had a loan spell at Udinese last season, hasn’t looked convincing during his Arsenal career and it seems unlikely that he will be part of Mikel Arteta’s plans going forward.
Maitland-Niles and Nelson both have quality, although they have found consistency difficult to come by at times. The Arsenal youth products look as though they need a fresh start at a new club in order to really push on.
Youngsters Reuell Walters and Charlie Patino catch the eye
Reuell Walters is still eligible to play for Arsenal’s Under-18 team this season, but the youngster was pressed into action for the first-team in Germany.
Walters, who joined Arsenal in 2021, is usually a right-back, but he was deployed at centre-back, a position that he has some experience of playing in.
After facing some difficult moments early on, Walters quickly grew into the game well and acquitted himself impressively.
The 17-year-old didn’t seem fazed by the physical challenge of playing against senior players and he also demonstrated an impressive tactical understanding of the game.
Walters will hope that his display will lead to him getting further opportunities for the first-team later in pre-season and also when the real action gets underway.
Another youngster, midfielder Charlie Patino, played some slick passes following his introduction in the second half.
Patino featured twice for the first-team last season and will be looking to add considerably to that tally this campaign.
Young defender Reuell Walters produced an impressive display as Arsenal faced Nurnberg
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