Could Gervinho be the unlikeliest of heroes for Arsenal this season?

The much derided Ivorian came of the bench to seal Arsenal’s win over Swansea at the weekend, and Arsene Wenger has suggested he might play a prominent role in the run in.

What a difference a week in football can make. At one stage eight days ago Arsenal were watching Tottenham Hotspur leading at Anfield potentially about to open up a ten point gap in the league before a winnable home game against Fulham, whilst the Gunners faced an impossible task at Bayern Munich and a tricky away match at Swansea in the league.

In the end, Spurs capsized at Liverpool, before Arsenal pulled off two excellent 2-0 victories, and then watched their neighbours flounder against Fulham to reduce the gap to four points with a game in hand.

One man that Arsenal fans might not have figured will play a big role in their attempts to overhaul Spurs and claim a Champions League is Gervinho, but Arsene Wenger has intimated that the Ivorian will be an important part of his attack over the next few months.

Gervinho did not look very assured of his ability when he netted against Swansea, but Wenger believes that goal can boost his confidence enough for him to make an impact for the side. Arsenal will need someone to provide the threat upfront, with Lukas Podolski struggling with injuries and Theo Walcott unable to replicate the form he showed around the turn of the year.

Whether Arsenal fans are ready to rely on Gervinho is another matter, with the Ivorian a widely ridiculed figure after his slew of notable missed chances already this season. However there’s no doubt he has talent, and his dribbling can open up any defence.

At the start of the season Gervinho delivered some fine performances playing in the centre of Arsenal’s front three, and if he can regain some confidence he could be a real boost to the side’s chances of a Champions League place.

Given the trouble Arsenal have had at times this season, Gervinho would be a fitting figure to help turn their fortunes around in the final weeks.

Perhaps no one has faced more criticism at Arsenal than the Ivorian this season, and just as the team might still prove plenty of doubters wrong, Gervinho could end a tricky year on a high note if he fires Arsenal into the top four.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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