Gervinho is a player who always gives his all. He is also a safe pair of hands when it comes to holding on to the ball and breaking through a defensive line from the wing, in order to make it to the by-line. He possesses skills that nobody else, except maybe The Ox, can offer to our team. He makes clever runs into the box, with or without the ball, as he reads the game better than most of us give him credit for.
This season, he played just 18 PL games for us in which he scored five goals and produced three assists: not great, but not a bad return either. He also played in six CL games, in which he scored two and also had two assists: a record he can be satisfied with.
Gervinho offers a good alternative to the likes of Podolski and Cazorla on the left wing, and he can also play on the right wing. He clearly needed time to settle in, and playing in two successive ACN tournaments since joining us from Lille, has not helped him much in doing so.
However, there is every reason to believe he will improve further next season.
It is fair to say, a number of bad, painful misses, against the likes of Bradford (away) and Blackburn (at home) for the cups, have done a lot of damage to both his image – and, subsequently, the support levels by the fans – and his confidence. Some fans are always looking to vent their frustration with anything Arsenal, and just like bullies do, they focus on the (perceived) weakest member of the squad. The season before last it was Rambo, and last season it was the Gerv. If there is anything I loathe about fellow supporters, it’s this.
His decision making and finishing are not always at the required level, and in general, he finds it difficult to gel with his team mates, and vice versa. With regards to the latter, it cannot have been easy for him last season, with new arrivals Podolski (German), Giroud (French), and Nacho and Cazorla (Spanish) all needing to settle into the team, as well as the PL in general. The Ivorian ball wizard appears to be an introvert person anyway, and he probably has limited command of English, let alone German or Spanish.
But once again, after a transitional season, there is reason now to believe that the (telepathic) relationships between all these players will improve significantly next season. The Gerv should benefit from this tremendously.
There are quite a few fellow Gooners who would instantly swap him for Nani of Manure. Nani, who played this season just 10 PL games, managed to score only two goals, and he scored none in four CL games. Nani scored a meagre 51 goals in 288 appearances, compared to 75 in 284 by Gervinho – that is about 50% more. They are of the same age, but if I had to put my money on who will make more progress in the PL next season and beyond, it would go to the Gerv.
Do I believe he is the best LW around? No. Could we improve on him? Yes. Do I believe Nani is the player to do? I doubt it very much!
It would be a big gamble by Arsene, and sticking with Gervinho for another season might be the far better gamble. I would like him to stay another season, in which he hopefully improves significantly.
With the now highly likely arrival of Higuain, and possibly another central midfielder/nr.10 – Fellaini, Jovetic, or Rooney (?) etc – we will see the likes of Cazorla, Theo, Ox and Podolski, or even Gibbs, playing a lot on the left or right wing. There will be no space in the squad for a top level classical (left) winger – which Nani clearly isn’t anyway – even if we were to sell Gervinho (a point which was made very well by fellow blogger AFC only a few days ago).
But when we play the ‘park the bus teams’ and we are just not getting through, there are very few players who accept sitting on the bench a lot during a season, and yet can come on and make a difference – a plan-B if you want – by breaking through the lines and feed the likes of Higuain, Giroud, Pod, Theo and Cazorla, etc.
To have such a player – at least on the bench – is a necessity for a silverware-winning squad. That player is Gervinho and for me he deserves at least one more season at the home of football.
Written by: TotalArsenal.