Gervinho in need of love, understanding and an emergency course of hypnotherapy + Time to make Vermaelen happy again
February 13, 2012
I wrote last week about Gervinho’s match winning goal in the semi final of the African Cup of Nations against Mali and how great it would be if Ivory Coast went on to win the competition against unfancied Zambia and we welcomed back to the club a newly invigorated Gervinho brimming with self-assurance and the taste for winning silverware.
Well…maybe I spoke slightly too soon. Last night after 120 minutes of a fairly turgid encounter we got to witness the relative spectacle of a penalty shoot out. And then the sight of a terrified looking Gervinho blasting his penalty closer to the corner flag than the post he was aiming for to give Zambia victory after 18 penalty kicks.
It’s likely to be a massive blow to a man who wasn’t exactly bursting with confidence to begin with. His failure to volunteer for a penalty until that point in proceedings says it all about his state of mind. He’s one of his country’s most talented and high profile attacking footballers and he clearly didn’t want to step up and shoot from twelve yards. Now what was left of his self-esteem will have taken such a severe battering the Arsenal coaching staff will have a job on their hands patching it back together.
I only hope it prompts some action. Surely the club hire sports psychologists to get the team in the winning frame of mind. I think it’s about time they earned their crust. Gervinho is a fine player but when he gets within sight of goal he invariably crumbles. That’s a psychological issue. It’s a matter of confidence. If we can rebuild that confidence we could have a twenty goal a season player on our hands. There must be some sort of hypnotherapy we could give him? ‘You’re Thierry Henry, You’re Thierry Henry, You’re Thierry Henry.’
In the meantime it’s up to us fans to give him the welcome back he deserves and sing his name until our throats bleed. He needs us. And we need him.
He’s been ordered to be back at the club by Tuesday, an effort to cut short the proposed trophy winning celebrations. That’s not likely to be a problem any more but either way he won’t be available until at least the weekend. We have the fairly massive prospect of a Champions League trip to Milan to worry about before then.
One player we know we’ll have to do without is Per Mertesacker. There’s no news as yet regarding the severity of his injury. They say no news is good news. They’re wrong. No news is just no news and makes me paranoid that they’re just not telling us the news because it’s bad news.
It means that for Wednesday at least we need to reshuffle at the back. If Gibbs is not quite ready to come in at left back then I suspect we’ll see Johan Djourou return to his favoured position at centre back. If he is then ditto for Thomas Vermaelen.
It would be great to see Vermaelen make his return to the centre. There was a story doing the rounds yesterday about how sick he’s been to be played out of position for all this time. As ever it was a case of a bad translation from the original Flemish to make the story sound more sensational than it was. He was quoted in the English press as saying:
I am fed up playing at left-back. I don’t think I am good there – I want to achieve my highest level and I can’t do that on the left.
I play there to help the team but it gives me no satisfaction as I can’t reach my best standard.
But what he actually said was:
I don’t think I am a bad left back. I do my job over there. But I am never really completely satisfied with myself after playing there. I want to get my highest level in each game and I don’t have this as a left back. When the team wins I’m happy, but still it is a bit frustrating.
Quite a difference then really. And yes the message is still clear. He’d prefer to play at centre back. But then we knew that already. He’s a centre back. We’d all prefer him to play at centre back. And hopefully soon he will.
Thanks to the excellent Untold Arsenal for the quotes. Be sure to get over there and check out the whole interview.
Right. That’s it for today.
I’m off to racially abuse someone, refuse to shake their hand and then apologise…but only for refusing to shake their hand.
That will put me in the clear, right?