Mikel Arteta admits he faces a balancing act as the Arsenal manager lets Gabriel Jesus play his natural game while doing all he can to prevent the feisty striker from being suspended.
Jesus has scored four goals in seven Premier League games since joining from Manchester City, with his tally helping propel Arsenal to the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham.
However, the Brazil international has already been shown four yellow cards in the Premier League this term.
A further booking against Tottenham would lead to a one-match ban ruling Jesus out of Arsenal’s crunch clash with Liverpool on October 9.
Arteta acknowledges Jesus’s fiery temperament but is wary of trying to rein in the forward too much.
“It’s a thin balance. It’s in his nature, he gets a lot of contact and puts his foot and his body on the line in every situation,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.
“He’s a been a bit unlucky with the number of yellow cards that he had. Some of them we could not prevent because they were a little bit disciplinary, but yeah we want to avoid that for sure.”
Arteta will hope Arsenal can hold their temper better than they did during a devastating 3-0 defeat at Tottenham last season.
Gunners defender Rob Holding was sent off in a loss that played a major role in Tottenham pipping Arsenal to a place in the Champions League.
A Tottenham win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday would see Antonio Conte’s men leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table.
“The journey they’ve had since Antonio (Conte) joined and how things have changed and the team that he’s building (is evident in) the very clear identity they have in their way of playing,” Arteta said.
“Obviously we know that both teams expect a tough match tomorrow.”