LONDON (Reuters) – Gabriel Jesus opened his Arsenal account with two goals as the London side maintained their strong start to the Premier League season with a 4-2 victory over Leicester City on Saturday.
In sizzling sunshine in north London, Brazilian forward Jesus produced a dazzling display, scoring twice before the break and going close to a hat-trick on several occasions.
Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli were also on target for the vibrant Gunners who joined champions Manchester City on six points from two games.
Leicester twice clawed themselves back to within a goal of the hosts thanks to an own goal by William Saliba, who like Jesus was making his home debut, and James Maddison.
Arsenal’s signing of Jesus from Manchester City for a fee reported to be around 45 million pounds was one of the standout moves of the summer and he already looks the part.
“I am so happy because we played so good against a tough opponent,” said Jesus, who received a standing ovation from the home fans when he was substituted late on.
“I work all day every day to score goals. I was not unhappy at Manchester City, I just wanted to play and the club understood.”
The 25-year-old was the heartbeat of Arsenal’s attack and he opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after a long spell of possession ended with his delightful chip from the left side of the area going over Danny Ward.
Jesus made it 2-0 in the 35th minute with a close-range header and he was twice denied by Ward before the break as he ran the Leicester defence ragged.
Leicester had a penalty reversed by referee Darren England after a VAR check in the first half after Jamie Vardy tumbled in the area under pressure from Aaron Ramsdale.
But they did get a lifeline shortly after the break when Saliba diverted the ball into his own net trying to intercept a James Justin header from a Jonny Evans pass.
No sooner had the visitors scored, however, than they shot themselves in the foot with keeper Ward fumbling a cross to Jesus who teed up Xhaka to slot home.
England midfielder Maddison, reported to be a transfer target for several teams, drilled a shot through Ramsdale’s legs to make it 3-2 but again Arsenal’s response was immediate with Jesus passing to fellow Brazilian Martinelli who fired a precise shot inside the post.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)