Football Betting

Josh Barker: Gabriel Jesus injury should hand Arsenal green light to sign striker in January

Arsenal are once again challenging for the Premier League title in 2023/24.

One win in five has seen the Gunners slip down to fourth but they are still only five points off top spot, which is not a huge issue at this stage of the season.

Mikel Arteta’s side are set up well from the back - with the addition of David Raya between the sticks adding some much-needed stability they were lacking at the end of last term - and have conceded 20 Premier League goals this campaign, a record only bettered by first-place Liverpool (18).

The north London outfit’s main problem and a key reason for their recent blip, though, is their lack of goals, with 37 goals so far in 2023/24, with only West Ham with 33 scoring fewer at this stage of the season.

So, it seems obvious that if Arsenal want to take their game to the next level, they need to start scoring more.

However, their current forwards do not seem up to the task. Bukayo Saka is the Gunners’ top scorer in the Premier League this term with six, which only ranks him joint-15th in the league’s overall top scorers in 2023/24.

As for their out-and-out forwards, Gabriel Jesus has three in 15 and Eddie Nketiah has five in 19. Even putting the duo’s tally together, they have scored just one more than the oft-criticised Nicolas Jackson in the division (seven).

Now, it has been confirmed that Jesus has suffered yet another knee problem. The Brazilian picked up a knee issue at the 2022 World Cup, which kept him out for a good chunk of 2022/23, before suffering a recurrence of the issue over the summer to miss the opening of the current campaign and now looks set for another spell on the sidelines – though it is not expected to be a lengthy absence.

Many fans were already calling for the Gunners to sign another centre-forward in the January transfer window but the Jesus injury should make that signing even more of a priority now.

Stuttgart forward Serhou Guirassy is one of the names being linked with an Emirates switch.

He is currently on international duty at the AFCON but with 17 goals in 14 Bundesliga games and a reported £15m release clause, Arsenal would be stupid not to consider signing Guirassy this month.

Ivan Toney has also been heavily touted to leave Brentford when he finishes serving his ban, but a reported asking price of £100m+ may deter Arsenal from considering the Premier League-proven talent.

Regardless, it has become clear over the last few months that Arsenal will struggle to win the Premier League with their current forwards.

Manchester City, of course, won the Premier League without a proper striker when Sergio Aguero left the club, but the Sky Blues had plenty of goals coming from all over the pitch at the time. And in Arsenal’s case, that is not happening this season.

The service is there for a striker, with Saka and Martin Odegaard among the players with the most big chances created in the division in 2023/24, but Arsenal do not have the players available to finish them off.

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.