After Arsenal’s comprehensive 4-1 win over Reading Arsene Wenger took the time to praise Gervinho whose goal and two assists served as a timely reminder of his potential.
Struggling for form and consistency since arriving from Lille, the 25-year-old winger has not only failed to win over the Emirates crowd but also spent much of the season as back-up to the likes of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski.
Nevertheless, with the England man injured and the German international seemingly out of favour, the Ivorian looks set for a run in the side as he looks to build on his upturn in form during January’s African Cup of Nations.
“Gervinho’s performance was very strong,” Wenger told press after the game. “He was always dangerous. He always looked like he could score. He gave assists and scored.”
Touching on the manner in which he has often been treated by supporters, the boss continued:
“I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.
“He’s always taking the ball, going forward and provoking [the play]. Now he has found his confidence back, he’s a very dangerous player.
“At the Africa Cup of Nations, for me he was the best striker. He is the type of player who is difficult to find because they always go at people.”
With reports suggesting that Gervinho, amongst a number of other players, could leave N5 for pastures new this summer, Wenger stressed that he was only interested in his players demonstrating the necessary collective spirit to help secure Champions League qualification.
“Gervinho did not play for his future [against Reading], he was just playing for his club. That is what every player does.
“We are a group of players who want to go for it, and to go for it together. Sometimes Gervinho plays, sometimes Walcott, sometimes Podolski, but we can only do it if we all have the same target and do it together.”
Reflecting on the result as a whole and the closing of the gap on fourth place Chelsea to two points, Wenger also admitted that he was pleased with the momentum his side have found since losing at White Hart Lane.
“We have the experience, we have done it before and it is what we want to do again. I am sure we will but it demands a lot of dedication and nerves until the end.”