clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yaya Sanogo season review

A review of Arsenal's young striker

Michael Steele

Yaya Sanogo joined Arsenal last summer as a raw, physical striker, and comparisons were immediately made with Emmanuel Adebayor. A more valid comparison, though, is Gervinho: not only are both Ivorian (or in Sanogo's case, of Ivorian background) with shoddy finishing records, but both have a level of disconnection between their brain and their legs, with their legs often betraying them. Despite all of that, both are rather effective and subscribe to the idea of chaos theory. Whenever Gervinho played, or when Sanogo played last season, they did something to create good, positive chaos for Arsenal.

After five months out with a back injury/a period of beefing up for the Premier League, Sanogo made a surprise first start against Liverpool in the 5th Round of the FA Cup. Even more surprising was how good he was, battering Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger all game, with his blocked shot after excellent chest control leading to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's opening goal. CHAOS!

Sanogo then played against Bayern Munich, and while he was less effective at creating chaos, he played some lovely one-twos with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and it was refreshing to see Arsenal have a striker with some pace and wherewithal to make runs behind. Sanogo got further starts against Everton and Wigan in the Cup, and was unlucky not to score, especially against Wigan.

Sanogo didn't make another start, but had some substitute appearances, looking for his first Arsenal goal. He had one incorrectly ruled out away at Everton, but came into Cup final Saturday with no Arsenal goals. He'd end Cup final Saturday with no Arsenal goals, even after replacing Lukas Podolski, but he made an immediate impact, giving Olivier Giroud support and stretching Hull City's defence. He created the glorious chance Kieran Gibbs missed by kicking the ball off of someone, getting it back and driving it across the box, and took five shots from good positions. When he came on, Arsenal became direct, quick and incisive, and he also combined with Olivier Giroud to set up Aaron Ramsey's winner. He most certainly created CHAOS!

There's a lot of promise in Sanogo. He's quick, he's strong, and he moves well, and he creates chaos. The finishing could be a lot, lot better and he's immensely raw, occasionally looking like a puppy running with a ball, but as we saw with Aaron Ramsey, if someone gets into the right positions, the finishing can come. He won't start next season, but he's an effective option off the bench, and could take away game time from Olivier Giroud if he continues to improve. And he was, after all, free.

Grade: C-