It is finally here, the new English Premier League season is upon us and it was kicked off with Crystal Palace against Arsenal at Selhurst Park. With the eyes of the world on Palace, the fans did not disappoint. They arrived in fine spirit with a unique tifo showing the building the club shares its name with. Unfortunately for Palace that was the high point of the evening as a much improved Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners. Something that stood out in the match was the contrast between the strikers for both sides and we can learn from the differences between them.
Gabriel Jesus Is A Proper Striker for Arsenal
Manchester City won the league without a striker in the squad. A phrase that many echoed last season and one that was surely insulting to Gabriel Jesus. The attacker had been at Manchester City for years as Sergio Agüero ‘s understudy and looked primed to finally take his spot after the player moved to Barcelona. When he played he looked good, but Pep Guardiola just never saw Jesus a striker and it looked tonight like Jesus was playing to prove everyone that ever said he wasn’t wrong.
Since arriving at Arsenal Jesus has been tearing it up. He has been scoring for fun in friendly matches and went into tonight hungry to find the back of the net. It is irrelevant is Gabriel Jesus ended up on the scoresheet or not during this match because it was apparent watching him that Arsenal finally have their number nine. From the first whistle, Jesus was electric in a Gunnars shirt. It was just a few minutes into the game when the Brazilian picked up the ball and went on a majestic run beating three Palace players and setting up Martinelli with a golden chance of his own. This was followed by multiple dynamic runs into the box and brilliant close passing moves with his teammates. Defensively Jesus leads from the front slipping seamlessly into Arteta’s pressing tactics, while also tracking back to win possession on numerous occasions.
While he didn’t find the net tonight Gabriel Jesus showed with his work ethic, skill and clever movement he can be the complete striker that Mikael Arteta needs to lead his attacking line. Most importantly for Arsenal, he is a massive improvement over the ageing Alexandre Lacazette who toiled to lead the line last season.
Odsonne Édouard Isn’t The Player He Once Was
There was a time when Odsonne Édouard was one of Europe’s top young attackers. Fast, strong, excellent with the ball at his feet and a deadly finisher. His talent was so undeniable that Celtic Football Club smashed their 18-year-old record transfer fee on the player when they brought him in from PSG for a fee of close to £10 million. His form during his time in Scotland was scintillating and at that time the player was undoubtedly the best in the country. During that period the player notched 28 goals and 19 assists in 47 games for the hoops. He also had scored 17 goals in just 14 games for the France U21 squad. The future for Édouard at that point looked like it was going to be bright. Unfortunately for Édouard, he fell victim to a curse that befalls many young talented players. As soon as news reports began coming out that Premier League sides were interested in the Frenchman there was a noticeable drop in his effort and performance on the pitch. A disastrous final season at Celtic for many want-away players including Édouard saw the player move to Crystal Palace at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season.
Things couldn’t have started brighter for Édouard at Palace with the player coming off of the bench to score twice against Spurs. There was once again some hype about Édouard, but it didn’t last long. Despite his obvious talents the player struggled to have any impact leading the line for Palace and was soon replaced up top by more physical players like Benteke and Mateta. The player’s low work rate, lackadaisical approach and tendency to give the ball away were clearly too risky for Palace to deal with at a time when they could have been drawn into a relegation battle.
Despite this though Patrick Viera could clearly see the talent in the Frenchman and lead with him in a central striking role in the opening game. Sadly all of Édouard’s negative traits were on display in the game against the Gunnars. Édouard was caught ball watching as Martinelli nodded home from a corner, before missing a golden opportunity to equalize. The player also regularly gave up possession and was unsurprisingly replaced by Mateta less than 15 minutes into the second half. Perhaps one-day Odsonne Édouard will find the qualities that made him special, but Palace would be brave to put all their eggs in that basket this season.
Will Odsonne Édouard recover his form? How many will Jesus score this season? Let us know what you think! If you enjoyed this content then follow me on Twitter @AzLynchy and also make sure to follow @FootballOTH for more football content!
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