Mikel Arteta has now issued a bold claim about Gabriel Jesus after the forward failed to score while Arsenal beat FC Barcelona 5-3 in a hotly-contested pre-season friendly.

Goals from Bukayo Saka (13’), Kai Havertz (43’), Leandro Trossard (55’, 78’) and Fabio Vieira (89’) ensured Arsenal ended their US tour with a win. Even though Robert Lewandowski (7’) and Raphinha (34’) twice gave Barcelona the lead, while Ferran Torres’ (88’) replied late on.

The manner of Arsenal’s performance surprised Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez, as well. He likened the friendly to a Champions League tie for the intensity that Arteta’s side showed at the stadium of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke’s NFL team, the LA Rams, this Wednesday night.

Arsenal players celebrates Leandro Trossard scoring against FC Barcelona in a Pre-Season Friendly
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Gabriel Jesus started as Arsenal beat Barcelona in a pre-season friendly

Arteta elected to start Jesus at SoFi Stadium as Arsenal met the 2022/23 La Liga champions Barcelona. But Eddie Nketiah replaced the Brazilian in the 79th minute after Trossard’s brace gave the Gunners a two-goal lead. The striker did not start the defeat to Manchester United.

READ MORE: Everything we know about Arsenal’s 2023 pre-season tour

Jesus entered the action in the 58th minute against the Red Devils following his goalscoring start against the MLS All-Stars. He needed five minutes to break the deadlock in Washington DC as the Gunners won 5-0. Jesus also enjoyed the entire second half away to FC Nurnberg.

The captain’s armband even adorned Jesus’ arm as Arsenal started their pre-season against Watford. He led the Gunners out at London Colney but only featured during the first half. The 26-year-old also failed to score, meaning he has only netted once across their five friendlies.

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus in action against FC Barcelona midfielder Ilkay Gundogan during pre-season friendly
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta issues his verdict on Gabriel Jesus’ display against Barcelona

Yet while Jesus failed to find the net against Barcelona, the Arsenal striker impressed Arteta with his overall performance. The Gunners boss even says his £45m arrival from Manchester City last July is currently playing the best football he has for months despite a lack of goals.

READ MORE: All Arsenal confirmed signings and transfers out in 2023/24

Arteta knows that Arsenal will need Jesus, Havertz and co to bag a lot of goals if they are to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title again in 2023/24. They pushed the Citizens the closest in 2022/23 after scoring 88 times through 38 games to City’s haul of 94.

“I don’t know [if we have enough goalscorers],” Arteta noted, as quoted by football.london. “We need to score as many goals as possible and if we have someone who scores 25, 30, 40 goals [then] great. Gabi, today, didn’t score but it’s the best Gabi I have seen for months.

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus warms up against FC Barcelona during pre-season friendly
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“Transmitting that energy, that belief. He was creating a lot of chaos, a lot of good moments and making everyone better. I’m really pleased with that and the contribution of Kai. He has that quality and that’s why he’s playing that position with Leo.

“We have a lot of options up front and they are going to have to compete between them to give me a hard time.”

Only Manchester City scored more goals than Arsenal in the Premier League over the 22/23 season. While Jesus offered 11 of the Gunners’ haul after joining them from the Citizens last summer. He hit home six times over five games across 12 appearances after his knee injury.

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