It’s going to be an odd last few weeks of the season for Manchester City.
The league title is over and has been for some time, they don’t know if it makes a difference where they finish in the Premier League because of their legal issues with CAS, but they could quite easily end up with three trophies.
It’s complicated slightly because Sergio Aguero could be out for the rest of the season having undergone knee surgery recently. That, in theory, should open the door for Gabriel Jesus, but there is a slight problem with that.
“One of the City players who has really disappointed me since the restart has been Gabriel Jesus,” said Daniel Storey on this week’s Totally Football Show.
“Now, with Sergio Aguero’s injury, he will probably start most games unless Guardiola goes for this striker less formation. It just doesn’t feel like he’s kicked on.”
Natalie Gedra, Brazilian correspondent in the UK for ESPN, agreed, and furthermore told us that the problem might not just be an inability to fill Aguero’s boots, but a positional problem.
“I always get the impression with Gabriel that he’s not as comfortable playing as a centre-forward than he is playing as a winger.
“He has talked about that, but what City need now is a striker and he’s had time to adapt and improve – he improved in a lot of ways, but I don’t think he can reach his peak playing as a centre-forward, and that’s maybe something he will have to deal with.”
Speaking of disappointing Brazilians, eyebrows shot off the top of foreheads recently when it emerged Arsenal had given David Luiz a new contract, despite a series of erratic performances. Not least in his last game, when he came on as a substitute, gave away a goal with an error, gave away a penalty and got sent off.
However, Natalie told us that it’s not his on-pitch play which is most attractive to Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy.
“David has a very strong personality,” said Natalie, “and I think they really value that at Arsenal, his leadership. At times this season and past seasons, there was a lack of leadership in the dressing room, and I think when they signed David they were hoping that he would address this problem.
“Arteta really likes him, and he had been enjoying working with Arteta a lot, so they decided to give him another year because of his personality and how much he can offer the team as a leader.
“Of course, I know there were fans who were against it, and I completely understand that, but there is this other side, plus that Arsenal had been struggling financially as well. It was convenient.”
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