Arsenal needed a big striker upfront from a long time. The Gunners have short midfielders who do all the fancy interplay with each other and creates tons of chances but only needed a big striker who could finish off the chances. After Thierry Henry, Arsenal had Emmanuel Adebayor but he was sold to Manchester City after he started getting too big for his boots. Nicklas Bendtner has played up front alone but the Danish lacks consistency. He can score a great goal one minute and miss an open goal the next. Robin Van Persie has always been unlucky with injuries. He spends most of the time with the doctors than his team mates. But in Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal have found the right person to lead the attack.
Signed as a free agent in the summer, the Moroccan International captain have scored 5 goals for Arsenal in the league in 11 starts. His goal tally may not match with the best strikers in England but Chamakh has many other attributes which made him the perfect signing for Arsenal. Chamakh brings a great aerial threat, as Chamakh stands 188 cm tall. Apart from boasting sensational height, the former Bordeaux sharpshooter is tremendously quick and is blessed with an impressive work rate. He gets on the end of many set pieces and have scored headers against Blackpool,Wolves and Bolton in the Premier League. Chamakh holds the ball nicely and likes to bring his team mates in to the game. He creates openings and opportunities for others with his style.He is an all round striker who is good with his feet as well as head. “The philosophy here is the same Laurent Blanc applied in Bordeaux during the last three seasons. So I can play the way Arsenal play, but I can bring something more too with long balls towards me if we are struggling during a game as I’m strong in the air." insists Chamakh
Arsenal could have bought Chamakh in January but Wenger waited until he was available on a free transfer. Given that Arsenal almost won the league last season despite a long-term injury to Robin Van Persie, this decision proved to be a foolish one. Any striker in the world would love to play for Arsenal that boasts a creative midfield of Arshavin,Nasri,Fabregas,Wilshere and Walcott. Chamakh is pretty similar to Adebayor who made the most of chances he got at Arsenal. He came from France just like Chamakh, was tall , good in the air and scored numerous goals. But his success got into his head and he flirted with AC Milan during the transfer window after which Wenger decided to cash on him.
Laurent Blanc got the best out of Chamakh. He flourished in France as a lone striker with Bordeaux. He learned under the tutelage of Christophe Dugarry, a World Cup winner in 1998, who taught him how to shield the ball better and helped improve his movement.His idol is French legend Zinedine Zidane.“For me it was Zidane. He always made me want to play football and do the right things.It gave me strength seeing him and made me want to do the same things.” says Chamakh.
Just like Zidane, Chamakh was born in France to African parents, and started his career at Bordeaux, again just like the Frenchman.He has shown his worth in the Champions League, capable of scoring vital goals or assisting in them. Last season he scored in both the Quarterfinal legs against Lyon. Three goals in 3 starts in the Champions League this season for Arsenal have made him the first man to score in six consecutive Champions League games.
According to Le Prof. : "He has done well,". "He is used to a physical game and is the type of player who likes contact with his opponent. He loves that side of the game, challenging in the air. No matter where you jump, if you’re playing in Japan or in England, if you jump high you’ll beat your opponent with your head, and he does that.
"But he’s adapted quickly because he is a really selfless team player. He works for the team and is a guy who loves being with his team-mates. They appreciate his efforts, too. Even if he misses one or two chances, his contribution is so high in other areas that it is not a problem.And the goals he scores himself are usually important goals."
It’s not only his goals that has made him the hero at Arsenal but also his attitude which has won the hearts of the Gunners. After the first few months at Arsenal, he said : I’m at the club of my life.I don’t want to see too far ahead in football. I’ll go to the end of my contract. That leaves me four good years. I played in my favourite club in France. I’m playing now in the club I’ve loved since I was small.For others, it’s Real or Barca. For me, it was always Arsenal.