Is Gervinho simply going to be Arsenal's Arshavin Mk II?

Gervinho

With Arsenal expected to ditch one infuriating talent in January, what of the maddenly inconsistent Gervinho?

There is no denying Andrei Arshavin has talent, even his biggest detractor would admit that - It is his work ethic, attitude, and overall production which has seen him go from Arsenal's record signing to benchwarmer.

Barring a dramatic turnaround in fortune, the Russian is expected to leave this January - With sides in the bottom half of the Premier League table, Reading, QPR and Fulham among those tipped to battle it out for his signature.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and will we be saying the same about Gervinho?

The Ivorian is, like Arshavin, supremely talented and a mercurial footballer, but again like Arshavin, drives supporters mad with his inconsistent performances.

Against Swansea at the weekend he was woeful, and was one of three players reported to be singled out for criticism by Arsene Wenger, along with Jenkinson and Vermaelen.

Yet it doesn't seem so long ago that Gervinho was being touted as Arsenal's missing piece in attack. Early on in the season he was credited with keeping Theo Walcott on the bench, and playing as the Gunners' 'False Nine' - Offering them a new option in attack.

It was back against Southampton in the 6-1 victory in which he had his finest game of the season, but truth be told it seems an eternity ago now.

Gervinho's form can be measured by the fact he has not registered a single goal or assist in his last eight appearances, after scoring five goals and providing one assist prior to that.

His last came in the Gunners home Champions League tie with Olympiakos, and he will hope tonight his inclusion in the squad against the same opponents will spark him back into life.

He needs it, and he must add consistency to his game. He is either excellent, or terrible, with no middle ground, which makes him an unpredictable risk to the Gunners compared to the suddenly reliable Theo Walcott.

If Gervinho can't fix his problems and become a consistent player, he need look no further than Arshavin to see where his future could lie.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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