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Champions League: Gervinho enjoying life at Arsenal

Gervinho has hit top goal-scoring form in his new central role

"His versatility to play as part of a front three was also a big selling point for Arsene Wenger."

Gervinho has divided opinion since his £10.7 million from Lille to Arsenal last summer but the striker is beginning to change a few minds...

What a difference a goal makes, or five of them in the case of a certain Ivorian striker.

Gervinho arrived at Arsenal last summer with a reputation as a top marksman after chipping in with 15 goals while helping Lille scoop the French title in 2010/11.

His versatility to play as part of a front three was also a big selling point for Arsene Wenger who has predominantly adopted a 4-3-3 formation in recent seasons.

With Robin van Persie doing the unthinkable and staying fit for the whole of last season Gervinho was inevitably asked to play in one of these auxiliary gunner positions and frustratingly for Arsenal fans he largely shot blanks.

A return of just four goals in all competitions was nowhere near the tally anticipated among the Arsenal faithful and his penchant for a most un-Arsenal like overcomplicated dribble left him with more doubters than believers.

However, with Van Persie's bags packed, Gervinho appears to be relishing his new role as the main prong in Arsenal's attack and has now scored one more goal than in the whole of last season.

The latest of these coming in Arsenal's 3-1 win over Olympiakos at the Emirates which has left the Gunners in total control of Group B.

With Schalke succumbing to a last minute equaliser from Montpelier, the Londoners have moved into firm 1.211/5 favourites to top the group.

Gervinho's importance to this Arsenal team is also partly down to the shake-up in personnel at the Emirates.

With the arrival of Lucas Podolski as a natural left sider Gervinho's previously favoured position has been taken by the German, who himself is proving what a shrewd investment Arsene Wenger has made.

And with Olivier Giroud still adjusting his radar to the Premier League and Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott battling it out for the right-hand gig, this has opened up a natural space in the middle.

After his three-goal start in the Premier League, Gervinho is now 16.015/1 to finish the season as one of the top four goal scorers in the country.

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04 October 2012

Champions League

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