Being a young striker playing for the same team as Sergio Aguero has it’s pros and cons, there is no doubt; for a player looking to develop his game and emulate the Argentine’s goal-scoring prowess, there are few better hitmen around to draw from, while equally, it is a struggle to push the former Athletico Madrid man out of the starting XI and that makes minutes hard-earned.
This is exactly the situation that Gabriel Jesus has been in since his arrival from Palmeiras in 2017 – the Brazilian was tipped as one of the hottest young prospects from his country and his 13 goals and four assists in his debut season for ‘Big Green‘ were enough to secure a £29m move to the Premier League.
While he has hardly flopped, the 21-year-old has not been afforded an extended run in the first XI to be able to truly show what he is capable of simply due to the fact that Aguero is one of the few players Pep Guardiola may feel is indispensable.
As the silverware-hungry City battle on multiple fronts to secure as many trophies as they can, Jesus will find most of his opportunities in the domestic cups and was given the nod on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup clash with Burton Albion.
The League One minnows presumably came to the Etihad Stadium with the plan to frustrate the hosts and perhaps grab an away goal on the break but the Cityzens were merciless and never took their foot off the gas as they stormed to an unbelievable 9-0 victory.
Jesus doubled his side’s lead in the 30th minute after Kevin de Bruyne had found the breakthrough early on and, from there, it went absolutely goal-crazy in Manchester.
The number 33 found the net again four minutes later; scored his hat-trick goal in the second half and then bagged a fourth to round off a terrific performance which was undoubtedly his best to date.
In a game where City almost reached double figures, you would be forgiven for thinking that they squandered chances along the way but this was not the case for Jesus – the forward took 6 shots on goal and four of those beat the ‘keeper, who had about as miserable an evening as it gets.
A key feature of Guardiola’s style is that goals and assists must be able to come from every single player – even Ederson, the goalkeeper, was purchased for his ability to find a killer, long pass – and Jesus was no exception as he completed an impressive 4 key passes and linked up with his teammates well. He got an assist, to boot, which meant that he had a hand in five of City’s nine.
At just 5-foot-9, Jesus isn’t exactly the most physical of strikers and can’t be expected to win too much in the air – should it ever leave the turf – although he won 2 aerial duels against the Brewers and scored a header, rising high above his man to power the ball into the corner.
After he grabbed four goals and teed up another in the midweek game, Guardiola would surely be mad not to start the Sao Paulo-born star against Wolves on Monday, however it would also be a gamble to leave out Aguero.
Perhaps, therefore, the answer for the Spaniard is to stray away from his favoured 4-3-3 and play with two up top; we know that they will still, most likely, be at their sparkling best regardless of shape but it would certainly be exciting to see Aguero partner Jesus.
If the latter can produce even half as good a performance as he did in the cup, Wolves will be ripped to shreds – what do you think, Manchester City fans? Who should Pep place his faith in for upcoming matches, Aguero or Jesus? Or both, as we’ve suggested? Let us know by voting in the poll below…