Arsenal stronger after slow start - Gervinho
Published 23:00 24/10/11 By John Cross
Gervinho claims Arsenal have found a new dressing-room spirit after their stuttering start to the season.
After collecting just four points from their first five matches the Gunners found themselves at the wrong end of the table.
Since the 8-2 defeat against Manchester United six wins in seven games has seen them rise to seventh place.
And Gervinho said: “We have rediscovered our feeling for our game - the group is starting to gel and each of us are starting to understand our team-mates and find each other on the pitch.
“Before Marseille in the Champions League, we’d also beaten Sunderland and that did us good too and of course the victory in France also helped us. We try to take it game by game and each win does us good.
“It’s superb to have three consecutive wins now and we’re starting to let go on the pitch and enjoy ourselves, without pressure. We’re already thinking of the next game - and winning it.”
Having been on the wrong end of a thrashing at Old Trafford earlier in the season, Gervinho believes United’s 6-1 weekend defeat by City illustrates that not too much should have been read into the Gunners' 8-2 hammering by the champions.
“You can have a bad day. That does not make you a bad team," he said. "We’ve gone through a bad moment and a team is like a player. Any player can have a bad game. It often happens.”
Gervinho is hopeful he can establish himself in the side after his best game for Arsenal yet, scoring once and providing two assists against Stoke.
“It was a good game and the most important thing was to win in order to gain even more confidence in the group,” he said.
“I’m happy we won and the team is starting to rediscover our self-belief, we need that. I am also happy with my performance.”
Arsenal’s revival is all about Robin van Persie - the Dutchman has scored 30 goals in 36 games in 2011 - and his performances have led to Wenger hailing him as the best striker in the Premier League .
The big concern for Arsenal is that it will only increase doubts about Van Persie’s future as the Gunners captain is out of contract in 2013 and in no rush to sign a new deal.
That has alerted the big foreign clubs and reports in Spain on Monday suggested Van Persie is at the top of Jose Mourinho’s wish list for Real Madrid next summer.
Van Persie will not leave in January and Gervinho is hopeful that the in-form striker will stay long term to take the club, who host Bolton in the last 16 of the Carling Cup on Tuesday, forward.
Gervinho added: “We always need our best players. I’ve just arrived at the start of this season and I would like him to stay so I can play with him a while longer.
“My wish is that he stays but after that it’s up to him and the board of directors and whoever he has to reach agreement so he stays.
“He is good for us, psychologically. He’s among the most experienced players on the pitch and when he enters the game he puts the opposition’s defence under pressure and that helps our game.
“He came on and scored two goals [against Stoke]. He’s formidable and the team needs him. You always have to have leaders in the group and he’s one of them, who drags the team forward.
“He’s the captain and his role is to galvanise the group and he assumes the responsibility.”