Positive #2: Gabriel Jesus scoring again
It took a misplaced pass from the Lens defence to help Arsenal spring Jesus, but he produced a classy finish after linking up with Saka. The calmly taken goal was a timely reminder of the quality and necessity of Arsenal’s No. 9.
Jesus is a tireless presser from the front, but his movement and flair are equally useful. Arsenal have missed the complete and varied game he offers, but all of the Brazilian’s best qualities were on display during an otherwise rough night for Arteta’s team.
Those qualities should remind Arteta he doesn’t need to push through a move for Brentford striker Ivan Toney this winter. Instead, the manager should look for help out wide to equip Arsenal to cope better with the nightmare Saka scenario that’s now become a reality.
Negative #2: Bukayo Saka injury
Arteta took a risk with his star player and it backfired. There’s no other way to view it after Saka was inexplicably kept on the pitch after notably picking up a knock against Tottenham.
More needless minutes followed for an obviously hobbled Saka even after Arsenal had built a comfortable lead at Bournemouth, so there can’t be any surprise that extended European duty proved a game too far for the 22-year-old.
Arteta could have started Reiss Nelson in France, but he stayed tethered to Saka’s ability to win any game. Now Arsenal are counting the cost after Arteta revealed the “muscular” injury rates as a “worry for us,” per ESPN’s James Olley.
With a would-be Premier League title tilt against City looming, the true cost of running Saka into the ground is likely to be worse than first feared.
Arsenal might still make some hay against City if Arteta trusts Saka’s fellow Hale End graduate to start.
Continued on the next slide…