Premier League MVP, matchday two: Gabriel Jesus provides the magic for Arsenal on his home debut
It wasn’t just the weather that was scorching hot across England this week as the Premier League returned for Day Two.
There was plenty of exciting action, controversy and tension as some of the division’s biggest clubs met.
Nottingham Forest clinched their first top flight win since 1999 when they beat West Ham 1-0 while there were victories for Aston Villa and Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Southampton fought back to a 2-2 draw with Leeds, two goals down, although Brighton were saved in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle at the Amex Stadium. Chelsea and Tottenham played a very different kind of tie as a lively London derby ended two each.
Brentford, Arsenal and Manchester City all scored at the expense of Manchester United, Leicester and Bournemouth as a total of 29 goals were scored on the second day of the Premier League.
After Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic won our MVP award and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo won the Under-21 award on Matchday 1, we have two new faces to praise for this week.
MORE: Arsenal vs Leicester City result, result: Gabriel Jesus scores twice, assists twice in Gunners’ dominant 4-2 win
MVP: Gabriel Jesus
It couldn’t have been anyone other than Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus this weekend, right?
On his home debut for the Gunners, the Brazilian not only scored twice but also became a supplier twice as the north London side beat a struggling Leicester City 4-2.
He also became the first Arsenal player to score more than once on his home debut in the Premier League.
Do it again! 🔁 #ARSLEI pic.twitter.com/82Bfd1dQqJ
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 14, 2022
The fun started in the 23rd minute when Jesus picked up the ball in the penalty area, used the defender in front of him to make a superb deflection into the top far corner and ran away to deliver his signature celebration.
Just over 10 minutes later it was two for Arsenal and two for Jesus, who nodded off at the back post to bag his first Premier League brace for the club in just his second competitive game.
He attempted five shots and had three on target in the first half as a disorganized Leicester defense struggled to contain him.
The second half proved similarly fruitful for the Arsenal attacker as he provided two assists to help Mikel Arteta’s men secure two wins from two to start their 2022/23 Premier League season. This is only the fourth time in the past four seasons that a player has scored two or more goals and assists in a high-profile game.
As well as scoring, Jesus recorded 15 touches in the opposition’s box – the most of any Premier League player on Matchday 2 – and also won eight duels and completed three dribbles, both match-high stats.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil after Saturday’s game, Jesus said: “Now I have a different opinion, I believe in myself a lot more. I’m smiling again, have confidence in playing and that’s why it’s going well. I thought so for a long time, but I’m back, the usual Gabriel”.
If this is the Gabriel Jesus who’s been popping up for most of this season, Arsenal may have made the signing of the season.
U21 MVP: Neco Williams
Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson may have reaped all the plaudits in his side’s 1-0 win over West Ham after saving Declan Rice’s penalty, but the club’s Welsh full-back Neco Williams will be admitted to the Premier League this week U21 MVP awarded.
Explosive from the start against the Hammers, Williams topped the charts as Forest picked up their first major league win since May 1999.
YOU REDSSSS❤️🏹🏹🏹 pic.twitter.com/qgDzEnCmoH
— Neco Williams (@necowilliams01) August 14, 2022
In the attack, Williams threatened throughout and registered four shots and two on goal. Both were match-high figures despite his defensive positioning. He also created two chances and his three successful crosses and 12 passes into the opposition box were the most of any player on the field.
That doesn’t mean the 21-year-old has shied away from his defensive duties as he largely knocked Pablo Fornals out of the game. The Wales international has won nine match-sized duels, including three successful duels. He also recorded four clearances and regained the ball seven times.
Such was his influence throughout that Williams also finished the win with 74 touches, the most of any player, as he showed Forest fans why Steve Cooper saw fit to spend £17million on his services.