Gervinho continues progression in forward position

Gervinho can be a frustrating player to watch at the best of times, so performances like his one at Manchester City last weekend where the Ivorian’s shooting was off-key to say the least, would always bring criticism from Arsenal fans used to seeing the lethal likes of Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin Van Persie in the forward position.

In Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea yesterday, there remained poor elements to Gervinho’s play.

The Ivory Coast international can often lack the sureness of touch and when playing as a lone striker, particularly in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 system, the forward has to have sufficient technical ability to receive the ball in tight areas and work with it. Gervinho can often leave Arsenal without a focal point as he embodies more of a “false 9” than a traditional forward presence. At times yesterday, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Lukas Podolski would look to cross the ball into a box devoid of any Arsenal players..

However, Gervinho’s potential in the role is clearly growing. The more he plays in the role, the more confidence Gervinho seems to gain. At times he looks like he can be overawed a little against top class defenders and goalkeepers but his expertly-taken finish against Chelsea was worthy of any top class striker and showed exactly what Gervinho can be capable of. The Ivorian clearly remains a work in progress, but with Podolski seemingly more effective from the left-wing and Olivier Giroud’s struggles in front of goal continuing, Gervinho looks set to get the game-time to make those improvements.

Adam Mazrani

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