Men's Team

Goater and Dickov hail Gabriel Jesus’ ‘evolution’

Goater and Dickov hail Gabriel Jesus’ ‘evolution’
Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov believe Gabriel Jesus has become a better player for the ‘sacrifices’ he makes for the City team.

The Brazilian forward, who was involved in the creation of three goals in last weekend’s 5-0 win over Norwich, bagged a goal and another assist in Saturday’s impressive victory of the same scoreline over Arsenal.

Employed as a right-winger, the 24-year-old has starred in our start to 2021/22, earning a Man of the Match award in the triumph over the Canaries, and both Goater and Dickov attribute his ‘evolution’ to his willingness to put the team first, as well as a knowledge of what makes the perfect delivery for a striker.

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“Credit to him,” Goater hailed, speaking on our Matchday Live show.

“It’s what Pep asks of players – tweaking, taking one for the team – and he has adjusted his game, playing wide, giving assists and making deadly runs to be set up.

“He’s taking one for the team – you want to be central and get goals. He sacrifices a lot but I think his game has evolved and he is a better player for it.”

“Jesus has been fantastic,” Dickov agreed. “Centre-forwards playing out wide know where they want the ball – they know where they want to be to score it.

“Centre-forwards know how to deliver from outside and Jesus has done everything he needs.

WATCH: City 5-0 Arsenal: Extended highlights

“It was lovely to see him on the scoresheet as well.

“He’s a special player. Many people question him but he is a world-class player.

“He produces. Every time he is called upon, he delivers.

“I hope he gets a run and continues this form.”                   

There was plenty to savour from another five-star showing, in which City were ruthless against the Gunners, including a brace for Man of the Match Ferran Torres.

Former City strikers Goater and Dickov were equally impressed with the Spaniard’s contribution, tipping the forward to finish the campaign amongst the top scorers.

“I think it’s a big season for Torres,” Goater predicted. “He’ll be challenging for top scorer.

“It was a brilliant performance. Between him, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan, they’ll be challenging for top scorer.

“I love what I am seeing with his movement. Torres up the middle makes decisions like he is a striker. It’s no surprise that he scores.

“I think he is quality. Every time I watch him, I think he is a centre-forward.”

WATCH: City 5-0 Arsenal: Short highlights

Dickov echoed: “He’s so composed for someone so young. Sometimes, a centre-forward only has one or two chances but when he is in there, he scores.

“He had a great Euros tournament with Spain. He’s still young but he came in and hit the ground running.

“He’s played as a number 9 and made great runs. He’s always coming short and in behind, which makes defenders think.

“It’s a seamless transition – they all react off each other. When Gabby makes a run inside, Torres goes wide…

“Having options and interchanging is so hard for defenders to pick up. As the opposition manager, you don’t know what could happen. It’s making defenders constantly think.

“He is a natural goalscorer. We had seen clips of pace – not much on finishing – but he seems a natural goalscorer. Left foot, right foot, one touch… even though it’s not his natural position.”

WATCH: Guardiola salutes exceptional Bernardo

One of eight City scorers in our last two games, Ilkay Gundogan broke the deadlock, heading home Gabriel Jesus’ delivery with just seven minutes played.

Last season’s top scorer also earned plenty of praise from our studio guests, who applauded his ‘footballing brain’ and excellent timing.

“Gundo is underrated by other teams,” Dickov states. “They forget about him but with his football intelligence, what a player!

“Technically, he is fantastic. With his football brain, you can see him looking for little gaps.

“For someone who was known as a more defensive player, it was a fantastic performance.”

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Goater added: “Gundogan is always a consistent performer. He makes the right decisions.

“He receives the ball with his left foot or right foot and has the touch and finishes. He’s one of the best at arriving in the box.

“He’s got this quality of arriving at the right time. He’s brilliant at it.

“It’s not luck. He’s got a way of ghosting between defenders – he sneaks into these areas and whether it’s with his feet or a header, he knows where the ball is going to be.

“I’m pleased for him. All the talk has been about centre-forwards but he is applying outside and he has been brilliant.”

WATCH: Gundogan privileged to lead City's victory over Arsenal

Saturday marked further cause for celebration for the Club with the unveiling of two statues outside the Etihad Stadium in honour of former City stars Vincent Kompany and David Silva.

For Dickov and Goater, the tributes were fitting.

“It’s a fantastic, special moment for special players,” Dickov reflected. “You have to give the Club credit for honouring them.

“They were huge factors of why the Club has won trophies. Vincent is an inspiration and Silva: one of the best ever.

“He’s one of the best I’ve seen in the last ten years. Everyone you speak to says he is the best player they have played with – even in training, they couldn’t get near him!

“Getting the ball in tight spaces, they expect him to lose the ball but he gets out of them. He took the Premier League by storm.

WATCH: Watch: Kompany and Silva statues unveiled!

“He came in and showed the way forward – people look at Silva and how effective it was.

 

“Vincent was really humbled by his statue. I still get goosebumps every time I see that goal [against Leicester].

 

“How he handled himself after that game when he knew he was leaving – he didn’t say anything because there were two important games left – shows he always put the team first.”

 

Goater concurred: “These guys deserve it. Kompany is the star of the revolution.

 

“He came as a midfielder and ended up as a centre-back, although he was amazing as a holding midfielder. He was colossal – he never lost a 50/50 and has the intelligence of distances.

 

“It’s brilliant that the Club has honoured him. All of the great games he has played and the trophies he won will be remembered.

 

“Silva made the game look beautiful and easy – to be able to get past five!

 

“He kills the ball and you just think: ‘This guy is amazing.’”

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