Gervinho – another bit-part failure in waiting for Arsenal?

Gervinho was instrumental for Lille in their Ligue 1 title campaign last season, but does he fit the bill for Arsenal?

The Arsenal-bound, Ivory Coast striker has the all-round game and technical ability that Arsène Wenger fancies but how do his recent performances show up in a lower-level league compared to the Premier League, and will he rise to the stage that Arsenal will provide for him or crumble in the winter when the pressure is on?

2010/2011 was Gervinho’s best professional campaign – he was the only player to reach double figures in both goals scored (15, his highest season tally in professional football) and assists made (10) in Ligue 1, joining a group of only seven more players who did so amongst the top-5 European Leagues:

Goals and Assists – top-5 European leagues (2010-11)

Player

Team

Goals

Assists

Total

Ronaldo

Real Madrid

40

11

51

Messi

Barcelona

31

18

49

Gervinho

Lille

15

10

25

Ibrahimovic

Milan

14

11

25

Müller

FC Bayern München

12

11

23

Drogba

Chelsea

11

13

24

Rooney

Manchester United

11

11

22

Vidal

Bayer 04 Leverkusen

10

11

21

Gervinho has also shown a strong desire to take responsibility and make things happen on the pitch. Since his arrival in Ligue 1 in 2007/08, Gervinho has made more successful dribbles than any other player in the French top flight.

Most dribbles completed in Ligue 1 since 2007/08

Player

Dribbles Completed

Gervinho (Lille/Le Mans)

231

Stéphane Dalmat (Sochaux/Rennes)

227

Hatem Ben Arfa (Lyon/Marseille)

226

Stéphane Sessegnon (PSG/Le Mans)

211

Nicolas Maurice-Belay (Sochaux)

202

However, it is his overall statistics for 2010/2011 that are slightly worrying. At Lille, Gervinho had a central role in both scoring and creating goals, and at a minutes / goal ratio of 190 he is not going to be the main Arsenal striker from day one. However there is little to show in the stats below that he will be anything more than a backup striker / wide player for Arsenal.

Once you factor in the number of games he’s likely to get at Arsenal, the conversion rate is average. If you look at the % of successful dribbles and the lesser amount of time on the ball he’s likely to get in the Premier League, you can almost see him (and Arsenal) getting frustrated as he loses the ball time and time again.

Having said that, Gervinho does possess the all-round talents to fit into Arsenal’s playing style, although to get the best out of him Wenger will need to play him a lot more regularly than the outgoing Bendtner.

Gervinho in Ligue 1

Gervinho – Lille

2010-11

Appearances

35

Minutes On Pitch

2849

Goals

15

Mins per goal

190

Shots

78

Shots On Target

42

Shooting Accuracy

54%

Chance Conversion

19%

Touches per game

40

Goal Assists

10

Key Passes

36

Total Passes

786

Pass Completion %

79%

Dribbles & Runs

199

Dribble Completion %

37%

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