The Ivorian got his name on the score sheet for the Gunners’ opener 11 minutes into the game and followed it up with two assists before being substituted off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after 75 minutes.
The 25-year-old received an unusually rapturous round of applause as he came off – something he will have likely been unaccustomed to after what has been an inconsistent and at times frustrating season for him.
He’s now made 23 appearances for the North Londoners this season, scored 7 goals and made 4 assists. I wrote an article last week in the wake of speculation that Turkish outfit Galatasaray were interested in signing him this summer.
I asserted that, if Arsenal were to receive an offer matching his valuation, they should offload him. Now, credit where it’s due – he had a decent game on Saturday and played an important part in an important victory for Arsene Wenger’s side.
However, I remain unconvinced – for several reasons. Firstly, Reading were poor. That’s not to take credit away from Arsenal, they can only beat what’s in front of them and they stuck to the script. They were focused, determined and completely controlled the game from start to finish.
But I can’t help but feel Gervinho has yet to prove himself against the best in the business. He’s not going to be given the time and space on the ball, nor the abundance of opportunities he was allowed on Saturday.
Reading’s display was that of a team that deserves to be relegated from the Premier League. They were very poor and yet Gervinho still managed to make the same mistakes and poor decisions he’s been doing all season long.
He makes some good runs, takes up intelligent positions and works hard which is all well and good but he still gives away possession with careless and, frankly, poor passing. Especially in the final third.
He’s so frustrating to watch because he gets in all the right positions and then makes inaccurate or clumsy passes and the move breaks down. Then, to compound that, his finishing is still very suspect.
His goal was a tap in – I agree that even tap ins require someone to tap them in – but his low tally for the season compared to Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, and Santi Cazorla demonstrates he is still high and wide of the mark more often than not.
His misses this season have been nothing short of ridiculous – an open-goal opportunity springs to mind from the Bradford game and, as I mentioned before, the Bayern Munich game was an unfortunate miss but those are the make-or-break chances.
Perhaps he needs more games to build form, perhaps he needs more confidence or perhaps he just needs to be sold. Despite a decent performance against Reading, I’m going to need to see him perform consistently at a much higher level before I stand corrected.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald