Arsenal News: Revitalized Gervinho Is Arsenal's Secret Weapon In Top Four Race

 
on April 08 2013 7:22 AM

Gervinho can be Arsenal's secret weapon in the race for a top four finish. The often wayward Ivory Coast forward has been revitalized in recent weeks, netting two goals and three assists in three matches.

He's certainly had his share of critics since arriving from Lille in the summer of 2011. However, Gervinho has offered an emphatic reminder of his talents during Arsenal's three-game winning streak in the English Premier League.

He has terrorized defenses and was Arsenal's dominant force in recent victories over Reading and West Bromwich Albion. Significantly, Gervinho has rediscovered his scoring touch.

He netted Arsenal's clinching goal in their 2-0 away win over Swansea City in mid-March. He followed that with another scoring strike in a dominant 4-1 victory against Reading.

Given the full start against Reading, he showed what he adds to the Gunners style of play. One of Gervinho's best attributes is his movement off the ball.

He frequently takes up excellent positions, drifting off the flank and through the middle. That's helped him rediscover his confidence in front of goal, after a lengthy barren spell.

Gervinho began his second season with the Gunners in fine form. He scored five early goals, including a brace against Southampton and the winner against Montpellier in the UEFA Champions League.

His form kept Theo Walcott on the bench. However, just as he did after a promising start in his debut season, Gervinho became increasingly erratic.

His composure deserted him and his touch in front of goal was often abysmal. One calamity after another plagued his game.

His embarrassing failure to tap into an open goal in Arsenal's Capital One Cup defeat by Bradford City, was the low-light.

This inconsistency made Gervinho the target for frustrated sections of Arsenal's support. He raised their ire with one clumsy showing after another.

Wenger responded by dropping him to the bench, in part to protect Gervinho from fierce storm of criticism that greeted him whenever he touched the ball.

It took some excellent performances in the Africa Cup of Nations for Gervinho to recapture some confidence.

Every player relies on their confidence to some extent. However, Gervinho is utterly at the mercy of his.

In true Gervinho fashion, now his confidence has raised, his game has immediately improved. He is now sparking Arsenal's charge back into the top four.

That's because Gervinho offers true versatility to Arsenal's front three. He starred on the right for Lille in 2010/11, helping them win a league and cup double with his goals and assists.

For the Gunners he's been effective on both the left and the right. Gervinho is one of the few members of Arsenal's forward line who can beat defenders with tricky ball skills.

He's not always decisive enough once he gets round his marker. However, his varied movement and pace threatens every angle of an opposition defence.

Those attributes also allow Gervinho to succeed as a central striker. Wenger deployed him through the middle at the start of the season.

The bold experiment yielded positive results, as Gervinho scored a clutch of early goals. His intelligent runs off the ball increase the fluidity of Arsenal's attack.

With a live-wire like Gervinho darting into different areas across the forward line, the likes of Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla are also encouraged to drop into different areas.

This makes Arsenal's striking trio difficult to mark and creates gaps for attacking midfielders like Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere to exploit.

Against West Brom, Rosicky was the beneficiary of Gervinho's movement. He followed up the Ivorian's first half cross- shot to give Arsenal the lead.

If Wenger can keep Gervinho's confidence high and give him the freedom to play a wandering role in attack, the often criticized forward can be the key to a top four finish.

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