By Rachel Steinberg, PA
Mikel Arteta hailed Gabriel Jesus’ standard-lifting performance after the striker opened his Arsenal account with a brace in their 4-2 victory over Leicester.
The summer signing from Manchester City brought the Emirates faithful to their feet in the Gunners’ first home fixture of the season with a stunning curled effort, following it up with a nodded goal to double their advantage before the break.
Jesus, however, later confessed to his manager that he was not as elated with his performance as the Gunners fans who flooded social media with praise after their side picked up another three points.
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“We know what Gaby can do,” said Arteta. “He scored two assists too and he’s feeling disappointed in that dressing room because he said he could have scored four.
“That’s the standard, that’s the mentality you want. To go to a different level, you need that mentality.
“I wouldn’t like to play against him. I’ve never been a defender but I can imagine that they don’t enjoy it. He’s so mobile, so intuitive and he’s always sharp and pro-active to play in any moment at any phase of the game, and he’s a real threat.”
The Brazilian’s brace ultimately accounted for all the goals in the first half of a contest that saw Leicester claim the earliest chance when Wesley Fofana drove into the area from the left and directed a slow, rolling effort at the awaiting Aaron Ramsdale.
They clawed one back after the restart but through little effort of their own as a William Saliba own goal drew the Foxes within one.
But the back-and-forth second half saw Granit Xhaka restore the Gunners’ advantage within two minutes before Gabriel Martinelli took even less time to answer a James Maddison strike.
Arteta is convinced the Jesus effect has started to rub off on his entire team.
He added: “He lifts the standards. The way every day he’s training, the way he’s talking today, the way they are connecting, I think it’s very natural, but at the same time it’s pretty impressive to do it that quickly.”
The Gunners boss also marvelled at the response of the 60,033 who packed the Emirates, particularly after Saliba’s own goal.
He said: “What they did today after (that) is something that in my career I haven’t seen, and that shows a connection and shows, really, to be there when it matters and when it’s difficult for somebody.
“We should be really proud to play in front of them because that’s special.
That lifted the confidence of (Saliba) and how he played the minute after that, and to the team as well.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, was able to see some positives in his side’s performance despite conceding at critical moments, and agreed the ongoing transfer window could be rattling some of his players.
“I think it’s obviously difficult for young players,” he agreed. “But I think you see with the spirit of the team, they kept fighting from the very first whistle.
“We started the game well, really aggressive, and just before the drinks break we conceded.
“I think for the players you saw they kept going right until the very end, and if we don’t concede the goals and make the mistakes for the goals then the scoreline is much closer.”
Fofana, 21, who has in recent weeks been linked to a Chelsea move, went over to acknowledge the away fans after the final whistle.
It was not, insisted Rodgers, any indication of a goodbye.
“He was giving the fans a clap,” he said. “I didn’t see a farewell clap.”