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Gabriel Jesus set to fire again

PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF: Gabriel Jesus could be a key player for City in 2017/18

PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF: Gabriel Jesus could be a key player for City in 2017/18

New players, new expectations, new season... there's plenty of reason for optimism for City fans with the 2017/18 campaign now less than a month away.

But, arguably, the biggest buzz of all surrounds seeing how Gabriel Jesus fares as he prepares for his first full season in English football.

 Refreshed and raring to go after his summer break, the boy from Brazil will be looking to carry on from where he finished off in May.

 Among the many positives to emerge from Pep Guardiola's first season at the Etihad, it’s fair to say one of the undoubted highlights was the arrival of Jesus.

The Brazilian striker’s impact in his first five months at the Club was nothing short of sensational.

As well as scoring seven goals, he also contributed four assists in just eight Premier League starts for the Club.

That meant over the course of 650 Premier League minutes, Gabriel played a part in a City goal every hour he was on the field.

Those figures are better than by any other player with more than 500 minutes of top flight action under their belts.

However, impressive as those statistics are, they only scratch at the full impact made by Gabriel.

Though he signed for City in August of last year, under the terms of the transfer, Jesus remained in South America to see out the domestic Brazilian season with Palmeiras, whom he helped to a first national league title in 22 years before then joining City in January.

Arriving in the midst of an English winter and having to grapple with a new culture, climate and language would be a test for anyone, let alone a young 20-year-old.

But Gabriel literally hit the ground the running, as demonstrated in his City debut at home to Spurs at the end of January.

In a stunning ten minute cameo from the bench, Jesus gave notice of his prodigious talent by almost setting up a goal his very first touch in English football.

And with the game poised at 2-2, Jesus looked like he had scored a sensational winner only to see what would have been a dream winner ruled out for offside.

However, it served notice of a special talent and that message was only reinforced when he scored on his full league debut as City ran riot at West Ham, securing a 4-0 win at the start of February.

The Brazilian followed that up with an even more dramatic contribution to City’s next game at home to Swansea. After firing the Blues ahead with his first goal at the Etihad, Jesus secured a vital win by firing home a 92nd minute winner to cement his status with City's fans.

Both City and Jesus seemed set to kick on when fate intervened in the Club's next league fixture away at Bournemouth on February 13 and Jesus was forced off with what was diagnosed as a broken metatarsal.

It was a shattering blow and the fear was he would be side-lined for the remainder of the campaign.

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Instead, Jesus defied the initial medical prognosis and returned to action – again from the bench – in time for the Manchester derby at the Etihad on April 27.

When he was brought on with seven minutes left it was if he had never been away, with Jesus appearing to scored a dramatic winner with a late header, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

Jesus then started City’s final five matches and found the target a further three times against Middlesbrough, Leicester and West Brom.

However, it wasn’t just his goals and assists that marked Gabriel out.

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His work-rate and willingness to fight for every ball also helped endear him to City fans

Ever since his arrival Jesus demonstrated time and again that he is one of those special players who has the priceless habit of making things happen.

Small wonder then that City and their fans will be hoping that it's a case of play it again when Gabriel starts the new campaign.

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