Yes, Gervinho needs some love, hugs and songs from us the supporters and his fellow players.
I know there are as many Gooners out there who rate him as don’t rate him, but Gervinho is one of us, always works his socks off when he plays for us, and can add that extra dimension to our football that we often badly miss.
Our man from the Ivory Coast is not the most self-confident footballer, and as we all know, confidence is a vital part of being successful on the pitch. Our nr.27 (I guess he chose that number because he was born on the 27 of May) appears to be very introvert and lacking friendship with other players on the pitch.
It is about time us, the fans, and the players try harder to make him properly part of the Arsenal family.
Born in Anyama, a Northern suburb of Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire, it cannot have been easy to come here and settle in straightaway. He has been away from his home country for quite a while, with spells at Beveren, Le Mans and Lille; and he must have learned to adapt to different environments by now.
But London is a modern, world city, and it is not easy to settle there, especially without a good command of the language, which I am assuming he doesn’t possess. Many Englishmen and Europeans find it hard to feel at home and make a success in such a large city. So it should come as no surprise that Gervinho is having some difficulties in adapting to life in London, and playing for/ settling into Arsenal right now.
I was at the FA cup game, at home against Blackburn a couple of months ago, and Gervinho, who had only just returned from international duty, was struggling a bit with form. Many ‘supporters’ around me started to moan about Gervinho from the first moment he did something wrong. There was no leeway; no ‘let’s give him a chance to settle in’, but most of the fellow Gooners around me were simply eager to confirm to themselves what they had decided in their heads was a fact: Gervinho is rubbish.
It was the weekend after Valentines Day and I realized soon that many supporters were taken to the Home of Football by their partners as a surprise gift. These people wanted to be entertained and show their partners – in most cases women – how frustrated and embarrassed they were at the poor performance of the team; by shouting, swearing, yelling at our players from the word go.
We played rubbish and the team deserved the fans’ scorn to some extent, but as supporters we have a duty to support (the clue is in the word!); only if and when certain players do not work their socks off, and look like they do not want to be on the pitch, should they be showered with our anger and frustration.
And by supporting our players from the start, we will help them build their confidence; and the stronger the confidence – combined with a strong willingness to do well – the better they will perform.
Gervinho is a fully committed, hard-working player. He gives his all, always makes himself available and never gives up trying to create something for the team. Gervinho is an enigma: he can be equally totally frustrating as absolutely fabulous from one moment, or game, to the next. I reckon, Gervinho will always be prone to missing sitters, even if we were to embrace him fully and show him the love and respect he needs and deserves.
But I am sure, he would become more consistent and play with even more energy and desire to make things happen for us, and the number of goals and assists would also improve; if we were to become more supportive of Gervinho from now on.
There is no other player in our team, except Wilshere maybe, who is as good as our Ivorian in taking on players in front of him and move into space with the ball at his feet. He is one of the few who can receive the ball in a tight space and can keep hold of it, without needing to pass it to another player as soon as possible. Currently, he is also better than any other player in effective wing-play and ensuring that our team has enough width.
There are very few players in our team who position themselves better in the box than Gervinho: how many times was he at the right place, at the right time against Reading on Saturday, for example? Gervinho almost always offers another dimension to our team and football, but a large number of supporters just seem to focus on his glaring misses rather than his overall performance and contributions to the team.
Ultimately, Gervinho will be judged on his return in assists and goals for the team, and I agree with many critics that he needs to improve further regarding these. It could well turn out that he is not capable of making the grade at Arsenal.
But I believe there is more to come from Gervinho and that we, the supporters, and the players have an important role to fulfil here: the more the Ivorian gets supported and forgiven for occasionally producing a bad miss, the more he will keep going for us and his confidence will grow; and the more assists and goals he will produce. But the opposite is equally true: love and trust is likely to lead to a successfully performing Gerv, but hate and rejection will most probably lead to a failing one.
Let’s love and embrace him, and shower him with songs of praise when he does well. The Gerv, I am pretty sure, will pay us back handsomely.
Written by: TotalArsenal.