Gervinho: The New Thierry …

After two months out of the Arsenal loop, I returned to the Emirates for last nights game against Olympiacos. It is always refreshing to know that, in terms of build up, very little changes and the pre match traditions are upheld. On the pitch, as you all know, a lot has changed. Arteta’s successful switch to the defensive side of midfield was interesting to watch. I felt he successfully marshalled the team with a greater certainty than last year. Santi Carzola, despite apparently having a quieter game than usual, provided us with some incredible displays of touch and skill. Pre match, a fellow Gooner described his play as ‘erotic’; at times I find it hard to disagree. And of course the well documented rise of Carl Jenkinson was great to watch and I felt he had a very solid game.

Certainly one of the more surprising changes to the line up is the movement of Gervinho from the wide positions to the center of our attack. Picking a player
whose overwhelming weakness in the previous campaign was finishing seemed like madness, but to be fair he’s now netted five times this season surpassing his tally for the whole of last year.

After the game Steve Bould spoke highly of the team and Gervinho:

‘He is scoring goals so his confidence is sky high, He is a danger with his pace and movement – he could be a top player.”

Surprising comparisons have been drawn with Thierry to which Bould replied:

‘Well, if he gets anywhere near Thierry Henry we’ll take that all day long,”

For him to be mentioned in the same breath as Thierry is, for me, a bridge too far, but judging by the only live performance I have seen he seems to be
adapting to the position well. He is tireless and his movement was encouraging. Scoring and providing an assist, as well as setting up Carzola with a glorious opportunity most would have expected him to bury. It is clear that it will take Gervinho some time to win over many of the Emirates faithful and, given his previous record, this is understandable. There are calls from the stands for Giroud to be given more of a chance and it would seem logical that in the longer term a firing Giroud would be better suited to the current formation. Giroud adds a very different dimension to the attack highlighted by his excellent assist for Ramsey’s last minute goal. That sort of heading ability is something that Gervinho is not capable of.

It’s important to note that Gervinho is very much a work in progress. Even if that’s not what we want or need at the moment, there is no denying that he is
progressing into a more confident and dangerous attacker.

Is he to be the next Thierry? I highly doubt it, but I’ll gladly be proven wrong.

Will

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