Gabriel Jesus showed why he is keeping Sergio Aguero out of Manchester City’s team, scoring twice _ including an injury-time winner in a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Having volleyed City ahead in the 11th minute, the 19-year-old Brazil international rescued three points for his new side by tapping in from close range in the second minute of stoppage time after his initial header was only parried out by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
That’s three goals in two league starts for Gabriel Jesus since he completed his move from Palmeiras last month and the striker, who again started ahead of Aguero, is rapidly becoming a new darling of Etihad Stadium.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 82nd-minute equalizer capped an impressive recovery from Swansea after a one-sided first half, and threatened to take two points off City in its quest for a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League. As it was, Gabriel Jesus ensured City climbed above Liverpool and Arsenal into third place.
Guardiola appears settled on his first-choice front line of Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, and that spells bad news for Aguero _ for so long City’s top striker.
There have been potential excuses for leaving Aguero out in previous matches _ tiredness after international duty, tactical reasons and the fact he was returning from injury, for example _ but this omission was most telling. For now, Guardiola is putting his faith in Gabriel Jesus and it’s easy to see why on this evidence.
Guardiola likes his striker to be hard-working, constantly pressing defenders and on the move, and the Brazilian was exactly that on the rare times City didn’t have possession. He’s already chipping in with goals, too, including this crucial winner to deny Swansea a point in the Welsh club’s relegation fight.
Following up his close-range strike in the 4-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday, Gabriel Jesus put City ahead when he was quickest to react after the ball lopped up off Sterling from David Silva’s cross from the left. He made no mistake with a poked volley from the edge of the six-yard box.
City was so dominant in the first half that no Swansea player touched the ball in the home team’s box before halftime. Yaya Toure ran the midfield, Sterling and Sane were menacing on the wing, and Gabriel Jesus could easily have had a hat trick in that time.
The second half was different as Swansea saw more of the ball. Gylfi Sigurdsson had a free kick tipped wide by Willy Caballero _ again picked ahead of Claudio Bravo _ with the help of the post and an unmarked Alfie Mawson headed wide from a corner.
Sigurdsson’s goal came when he found space at the edge of City’s area for the first time all match. The Iceland international is lethal from that range and his low, left-footed shot flew past Caballero.
Aguero came on but Gabriel Jesus wasn’t being upstaged, meeting Silva’s right-wing cross with a header and then converting the rebound as Fabianski failed to gather.
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