Gervinho made 34 appearances for Arsenal this year, sandwiched around an African Cup of Nations in which he went to the final with Ivory Coast. He had four goals and eight assists while playing mostly as a left forward. Come with us after the jump to see how we feel!
Paul: In a lot of ways, Gervinho lived the dream for a lot of fans early in the year, when he slapped Joey Barton's annoying face in the Newcastle match. Sadly, that was to be one of Gerv's highlights this season. He's really fast, but as a forward tends to forget that speed means nothing if you either leave the ball four steps behind you or shoot the ball four feet wide every time you get into a scoring position. He's one of those players who, every time he gets the ball in a dangerous position, doesn't so much excite me as make me hold my breath, look away, and hope that when I look back Gervinho hasn't wasted yet another chance. I'm usually disappointed. I think Gerv can be a useful bench player, but he'll have to get a whole lot better if he wants to be a regular starter next season.
Grade: C+, inflated a full grade because of the Barton slap.
Aidan: At times last season, we could see why Gervinho was the only player in France in 2010/11 to have double digit goals and assists; his performance against Stoke, at home, where he assisted two Robin van Persie goals and scored one goal was excellent, as was his performance away at Udinese. When he was good, Gervinho was direct and tricky, getting to the byline and creating chances. When he was poor, though, he often left the ball behind, went into a cul-de-sac or missed very easy chances. He got into good positions and made some excellent diagonal runs but wayward finishing cost him a lot this season. Finishing, though, is something that can be improved, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Gervinho contribute more next season, at least until the African Cup of Nations, which happens again next year. Which is really annoying. Gervinho offers us something different, though, to a creative player on the left or Theo Walcott, and like many others, should offer a good rotation option next season. And although he is decidedly not Robert Pires, Pires also struggled in his first season in the Premier League, scoring exactly the same amount of goals as Gervinho.
Thomas: Ah, Gervinho. What a weird player. I almost feel like he was genetically engineered to be exactly the kind of player that I would really like (I wrote about that here, months ago) but a cheap plastic part broke so he's just a little bit off. He has speed, he wants to run with the ball, and he attacks the goal. The problem is that when he does these things, he has little malfunctions that keep him from actually being productive. He starts running before he actually has the ball. When he dribbles at defenders, he has a tendency to leave it behind sometimes. When he gets to the goal, his finishing is lacking. But we know he has quality, as he showed it in bursts and showed it last year (and before) in France - honestly, I think Gervinho will end up to be a big producer once he gets fully acclimated to Arsenal and England. He just wasn't this year.
Ted: Gervinho...well, I don't really know what to say about him other than the number of times when I was frustrated by him were greater than the number of times I was shouting "yay". He is dangerous-looking on the ball dribbling in from the left, and he hooked up well with Robin van Persie, especially in the first half of the year. He has a great burst of pace. It's just...every other thing kind of bums me out. Missing open nets, in particular, was a problem that was more or less endemic to his game this year, and maybe we all should've expected it, but I'm willing to write it off as a bad year if he can improve his finishing by, oh, 80% next year. With the added pressure of the arrival of Lukas Podolski and the maturation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (who's a different kind of player, admittedly), he'll have to.