Gabriel Jesus signed for Manchester City in the summer from Brazilian side Palmerias in the summer for £27 million. Jesus finally linked up with City in January making his debuts as a substitute on the 21st January in City’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Jesus created quite the impact when coming on as a substitute in the 82nd minute providing a fast paced skillful attacking threat which Spurs struggled to deal with leading to Jesus scoring. However his effort was ruled out for offside. Jesus made his first start for the club in City’s FA cup 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace putting in a solid performance and setting up the first goal. Jesus has since gone on start in City’s games against Westham, Swansea and Bournemouth scoring three goals and getting one assist in some very impressive performances.
Unfortunately in Manchester City’s last Premier league game against AFC Bournemouth Jesus was taken of injured and has being diagnosed with a broken metatarsal bone in his foot. Jesus had surgery on his foot in Barcelona on the 16th of February however he is unlikely to be back until after the Premier league season has concluded with Pep Guardiola telling reporters ‘He comes back at the end of the season or next season. People say between two and three months’.
This means that City must now rely heavily on Sergio Aguero and Iheanacho to provide the goals for the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign. This could prove hugely problematic for Guardiola’s men as City are still chasing silverware on three separate fronts including the EPL, Champions league and FA cup and with Aguero’s recent poor form and Iheanacho’s lack of experience any sort of silverware this year is seeming less and less likely. This has already been proven in Manchester City’s most recent game against championship side Huddersfield. City where held to a 0-0 draw by the Terriers and never really looked like creating any really dangerous goal scoring opportunities. This in part can be put down to Aguero.
As city only play one striker they depend greatly on said striker to provide the large amount of goals for the team. Aguero however has not been doing this and has failed to score in City’s last seven games with his last goal coming against Westham in the third round of the FA cup. Many people have argued this is due to Aguero not fitting the Guardiola style of play and thus speculation has a risen that Aguero could be on his way out in the summer.
For now though Aguero seems like City’s only hope of rescuing their season with Jesus out for the rest of the campaign. However if Aguero keeps up his continued form City will struggle to challenge for any trophy and could see Guardiola go without a trophy in a season for the first time in his managerial career.
Manchester City’s only other striker is 20 year old Nigerian Kelechi Iheanacho. Iheanacho has played 40 games for City since being promoted to the senior squad in 2015 scoring 12 goals in the process. Although Iheanacho has impressed in some games, he has also gone missing in a few of his appearances and for a side like Manchester City who are looking to challenge for the Premier league title and win the Champions League, an in consistent in experienced striker is not what City need right now. Although the youngster may someday be on par with the best strikers in Europe, he is some years away from reaching that level. This leaves City trusting in out of form striker Aguero to supply the goals.
However the City manger does not seem too worried about losing Jesus for the remainder of the season and stated ‘We played Tottenham without Gabriel and we played really good against one of the best teams in the Premier League. We did very good things with Gabriel but also without him’. While on the surface Pep does not seem to concerned about being without the Brazilian for the reminder of the season, questions must be being raised as to whether or not Guardiola believes Aguero, who is the logical replacement for Jesus, despite his recent run of bad form, can guide City to success this season. The City manager also expressed his sympathies for Jesus and his fellow team mate Gundogan who is also on the injury list.’ So I am sad and also I am sad for him(Jesus). Like Gundogan, we miss them a lot, it’s tough for them’.
Manchester City hosted Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League this Tuesday in their second game without Jesus. Aguero was chosen to lead the line up in Gabriel’s absence and he did not disappoint as City eventually saw of challengers Monaco after being 2-1 down at half time they fought back to eventually win 5-3 in a thrilling encounter which saw Aguero bag two goals and set up Sane for City’s fifth. However whilst this seems like a positive sign for the blues, it must be noted that Monaco put in a less than stellar defensive performance and realistically was one of the weaker defensive performances Man City will encounter this season. This was largely due to the French sides over reliance on playing attacking football. Even when 2-1 up Monaco still continued to press City which eventually allowed them a gate way back in to the game.
It must also be noted Monaco’s goal keeper did not have the best performance which involved him spilling in to his own net a simple shot from Aguero which drew Manchester City level.
City’s run of games commencing in a few weeks against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea could be a much better indicator as to whether or not Jesus’s injury will prove to be a fatal blow in Manchester City’s season and could also decide if they have any chance of capturing the Premier league title this season.