Gabriel Jesus believes that the effort he is putting in behind the scenes means he’ll be able to play up to 70 games a season if required.
As we head towards the World Cup break, 13 games have been squeezed in 43 days since the start of October as we aim to maintain our superb start to the Premier League, as well as compete in the Europa League and kick off our Carabao Cup campaign.
But after being rested for our last European excursion to Bodo/Glimt a fortnight ago, the Brazilian striker is part of the travelling party for Thursday’s game with PSV Eindhoven, where a draw will be enough to seal top spot in the group and avoid a two-legged fixture in the play-off round in February.
However, Gabriel admits he isn’t feeling the effects of any fatigue due to the changes he has made to his lifestyle since becoming a father five months ago, allowing him to be ready whenever Mikel Arteta calls upon his services.
When asked if he’d be tired after playing 70 games in a season, he said: “Of course not. 100 per cent because I’m doing good recovery after the games – eating better, sleeping better, and enjoying life in the Arsenal shirt a lot. I’m ready to play 50, 60, 70 games per season.
“It’s not all about the body, the mind is more important because it controls the body. So I stay with my family, play with my daughter, that helps me a lot. Then, of course, I do stuff in the club, at home, with the fitness coaches. My wife is helping me a lot as well. But that’s life and you have to enjoy it at home, at work and you feel freer to enjoy it.”
After scoring five times in his first nine games since his summer switch from Manchester City, Gabriel hasn’t found the net since the thrilling 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the month - a run of five appearances.
We have also netted just once in each of our last four games, and while that has still been enough for us to collect three wins and a draw, some onlookers have put this down to fatigue. Gabriel disagrees and feels it is a learning curve for our young squad, but backs them and himself to rediscover the goal trail sooner rather than later.
“It can happen because we are the youngest team,” he added. “There’s still a little bit to improve; like I said after the last game, I feel like I’m not doing things properly like I started the season. But I think we’re still doing very good. In one of the tough leagues, we are still in first position and we are playing good, but obviously we want to score more goals to win the games.
“It’s four games I’ve started and I don’t score. That’s happened before and I’m pretty sure in the future it’s going to happen again. That’s football - I don’t want it to be like this, of course. I want to improve, I want to work, like always in my life and then the next game, I try again. And I’m 100 per cent sure I will score.”
Having arrived in north London back three months ago, Gabriel has quickly settled into his new surroundings, and made an impression with not only his goals, but his experience at a young age, winning mentality and professionalism.
That led Arteta to swiftly make him part of the leadership group at the club, and he believes that being a figurehead for those even younger than his 25 years is helping him develop further and vindicate his move from the reigning Premier League champions.
“I said many times that I enjoyed my time at City,” Gabriel said. “Everyone needs a new challenge. That’s what I felt at that time and I am so happy. I think it was the best decision to feel more confident. I have a challenge here, and that is what I want, to come here with a young team.
“I think in the team I am the fourth or fifth oldest. But I still feel young here and I see in the training session everyone wants to improve, everyone wants to learn, to win.
“[Saka and Martinelli] are machines! I joke with them. I think I am a player with a lot of energy and I run all the time, I fight all the time. But when I train every day with them I realise I am not even close to them because they just don’t stop! They are machines, quality players as well and they’re still young, both 21. I am lucky to play with them.
“I am not a leader like a captain. I had a few, like [Vincent] Kompany, like Fernandinho as well, who talk, shout and help the team a lot. I am more relaxed. I talk just sometimes, but I think I show it on the pitch and the training sessions. I run, I help, if I have to run for some players who are tired, I run, I don’t care. And that’s why I think the coach chose me to be one of the captains. I am happy, I am grateful for that.”
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