In place of Aguero or out wide - where will Gabriel Jesus play in Man City line-up?

In place of Aguero or out wide - where will Gabriel Jesus play in Man City line-up?

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Date: 19 January 2017 05:48

The Brazilian has begun training in England and Pep Guardiola does not think it will be long before he plays - but how will he feature?


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Gabriel Jesus began life as a Manchester City player on Wednesday as he trained with his new team-mates for the first time.

The 19-year-old visited England at the start of December to find an apartment in Manchester and watch City’s Premier League game with Chelsea.

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He then returned to Brazil for a month-long holiday, but Pep Guardiola does not expect the forward to take too long to get up to speed and start playing a part for City.

The boy hilariously nicknamed Tetinha - 'small tits' - as a child due to his diminutive stature has shown a keen eye for goal over the last few months, one of the reasons he appeared on the radar of City’s South American scouts.

But his skills are accompanied by the kind of desire and work-rate that any Guardiola player should possess.

Still, City know his best work is currently done inside the penalty area, and will give him time to improve his link-up play and tactical intelligence.

But when he does get a run in the team - potentially against Tottenham this weekend - he will provide another option in Guardiola’s attack.


AS PART OF A 4-1-4-1


Guardiola has reverted to a more traditional back four since the defeat at Leicester City in December and that is the system he is most likely to stick to for the next few months at least, depending on further January arrivals.

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Jesus’ work-rate off the ball - whether City have the ball or not - played a big role in City’s decision to sign him, not least because Guardiola knew in the summer that he would want Sergio Aguero to do much more.

Aguero remains City’s No.1 striker, but with Guardiola admitting his side are not clinical enough in either box, Jesus will be expected to add a new dimension to the forward line.

He will spend his first few months vying with Aguero for a central striking berth, though also has an opportunity on the left given Leroy Sane’s injury struggles and inconsistent form.


AS PART OF A 4-2-3-1


Of course, Jesus’ role would not change too much in this slightly altered formation, but he may have slightly more attacking freedom given the presence of an extra deep-lying midfielder.

Yaya Toure’s resurgence has been impressive, not least because he now offers the tactical discipline that he had shown little sign of in recent seasons.

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If Guardiola can teach 33-year-old Toure new tricks, then he can with Jesus. For now, he might be protected on the left-hand side with hard-running players with Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho around him. Or, of course, he may just replace Aguero up front.


IN ATTACK... WITH A BACK THREE BEHIND


Guardiola has not used a back three since defeat at Leicester and may not go back to it unless he signs new defenders in January.

If not this month then in the summer, but the Catalan is certain to go back to the system at some point, given it offers him extra support in midfield and better control of matches.

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The problems have been with his defenders failing in one-on-one situations, and changing to a back four has stopped the attacking players from learning how to play together when there are so many of them on the pitch.

Jesus is sure to get the chance to give it a go in future, though if asked to play on the left he would have to do his fair share of tracking back. This is how the '3-box-3' formation, as it's been dubbed, would look.


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