Gervinho and Drogba: a comparison

By Walter Broeckx

Last year I wrote a bit of a funny article being angry at Wenger for having bought  some players with  difficult names as Szczesny, Koscielny… well luckily our new signing has an official nickname which is rather easy to write down.

With the signing of Gervinho a lot of things can be said. Some will welcome him and some will have their doubts. And yes in fact you can always doubt any signing. But how can we see if Gervinho could be a very good player for Arsenal?  So I thought that I could make a  comparison  with Drogba. The fact that both come from Ivory Coast has a lot to do with this of course.  So let us see if we can compare them. Are there any similarities to be found in their career? Well maybe there are a few things that look the same.

For the moment Drogba is 33 years old and nearing the end of his career. Gervinho is 24 years old and starting the best years of his career. But how were they if you compare them in the years you can compare them.  Let’s compare them until  the age of 24.

When Drogba was 24 years old he had played at Le Mans for most of his career. And in his career he scored around 1 goal in 5 games. 72 appearances and 15 goals. And this at a club in Ligue 2 in France. After those years he went to Guingamp in Ligue 1. And in his first season he only played 11 games in total and scored 3 goals. So statistically a bit better but only 11 starts is not much.

So in total at the age of 24 years old he managed to score one goal in 5 games on average. (4.61 to be precise – 83 games – 18 goals)

If we compare this with the numbers of Gervinho in France we can see that in the 4 season he has been playing there he has played 142 games and has scored 45 goals. This is an average of 3.15 goals to be precise. And this was in teams in Ligue 1 so at a higher and more difficult level than Drogba did at Le Mans.   (When Drogba played at Le Mans it was a Ligue 2 team and when Gervinho played at Le Mans it was a Ligue 1 team).  (You can always keep up with the live football scores).

And from the moment Drogba went to a bigger team he started scoring more. And now he his on 2.12 games needed to score one goal. Or one goal in 2 games on average. A number we all love to have in our team.

So it will be interesting to see if Gervinho who has already has an average that is more than one goal better than Drogba so far in his career will also get better like his older team mate in the Ivory Coast team could do? Now that would be something to look forward to.  If he keeps ahead of Drogba like he has done until the age of 24 he could end up with one goal in each game. Okay this will be asking too much I think, but I would be glad if he could do the same thing as Drogba did for Chelsea. Oh, what the heck. Gervinho, just do better than Drogba did.

Prove the doubters wrong and maybe you could also prove Wenger wrong in a way. Because way back in 2006 he wanted you to come to Arsenal but the transfer failed because of the Beveren manager (Walter Meeuws) didn’t want to let you go. Maybe there also was a visa problem at the time but I’m not sure about that.  If he would have let him go then you would have been an Arsenal player for many years now. And who knows how much better Wenger would have made you by now?

Another thing is that Gervinho is more versatile than Drogba. Drogba can only be used as a central striker. He has played in such a position his whole career. But Gervinho can be used as a central striker but also as a winger. One could say he is a winger who scores or a striker that can wander around the pitch in different positions and more unpredictable than Drogba.

If we look at assists it is clear to see that Drogba is not the person to let other score when he was at such a young age. As for Gervinho he gifts his team mates more than a few goals a season. It is interesting to see that not only the number of goals from Gervinho has been rising but also the number of assists has gone up in the same order.

So a few things do hint that Gervinho could become even better than Drogba. The only thing that Drogba has is that he has more height than Gervinho. 1,89 for Drogba and 1.79 for Gervinho. So he is shorter than Drogba. So from that part of the game he will have to work harder to get things done. But to make this up a bit Gervinho is much more mobile on the pitch and has better dribbling skills. Drogba can go past a man on power but Gervinho is the better technical player of the two.

And then we have the fact that Gervinho is starting what should be the best years in his career. After his move to the top Drogba remained there for 7-8 seasons (and still is there in fact). If we can get the same number of years out of Gervinho and with the same goals and assists as let us not forget that Gervinho also creates more goals than Drogba, it could be a big success. Oh and I don’t want to put any pressure on Gervinho his shoulders with this comparison and I hope that most of our smart readers will not expect a copy of Drogba. Because Gervinho is a different type of player compared with Drogba on the field. I’m not even sure if Drogba would have been successful at Arsenal with his style as I think it is not compatible to the Arsenal way of playing football.

Let us hope for a good signing and wish Gervinho all the best for his career at Arsenal.

The left back situation: Vermaelen and Vertonghen

The left back situation: maybe Arsène doesn’t need to buy

The statistical analysis: What would be the best option: Samba or Cahill?

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43 Replies to “Gervinho and Drogba: a comparison”

  1. Walter, to be honest I cant compair Gervinho to Drogba until he has totrured Chelsea fans as much as Drogba has tortured us.

    I welcome the signing of Gervinho but I shake my head that Nicholas Bendtner is leaving making the space for Gervinho and Carlos Vela is the one staying.
    Nicholas had a good goals to games ratio better than Vela who we sent out on loan and I think Nicholas was stronger and has more attributes to his game.
    Whats further annoying is when we bought Thierry Henry from Inter AW said he was ineffective playing on the wing for Inter hence scored more for us YET we played Nicholas on the wing all season and expected miracles now he is the one leaving and a player AW clearly hadnt as much faith in and was sent on loan is staying.

    Its not a case of strengthening a team for me which we were promised we would do because playing Gervinho on the wing wont help either with one striker up front aka RVP.

    Hopefuly its a good signing but its not strengthening anything its replacing like for like.

  2. All we can do is hope. I personally haven’t seen Gervinho play till now, so i really cant comment on him. His stats look average. But in another article i read that he misses very easy chances. Hope he isn’t another bendtner.

  3. @RedGooner
    Bendtner is the reason we didn’t dump Barcelona out of the CL despite the referee (though if he had put the ball in the net maybe he’d have been magic’d offside or Mascherano had been fouled or something). When given time to bring the ball under control he’s absolutely deadly but when pressured his touch deserts him. There are some brilliant players who cannot play for Arsenal the way they do for their national team for instance.
    Gervinho might be better equipped to cope with the EPL if he’s anything like Drogba.

  4. I knew you will be thankful that we have bought a player whoose name would be easy on the lips ,Walter ,but my complaint would be the hairstyle – groan ! Not another one ! Nevertheless hope he fits in and clicks right away.
    @Red Gooner- TH14 arrived from Juventus .Unfortunate for Bendner ,as I quite like him and we may have not used him properly in the past .But he had his chances – so good luck to him .

  5. Henry played for Juve and not Inter. Bendtner is worth enough money for us to sell hi, vela is not and is still talented and young enough to be given another season to show it. Bendtner always complains and has forced this transfer through himself with his dad. Finally just becasue wenger said that henry was ineffective on the wing doesn’t mean he is wasting bendtner out there. Bendtner is a good crosser is pretty strong and always cuts in, he was never goign to play in front of van persie when van persie was in record breaking form and nor was he gunna sit on the bench aw had no choice to put him there.

  6. RedGooner, I agree with you; Bendtner is sadly underrated by many Arsenal fans. When he played up front in 09/10 when RvP was injured, he did good. Bendtner makes good runs and although he misses many chances, just being able to be there for those chances tells me that his movement and intelligence is right up there. We need some big, powerful players that can impose themselves in the area they are being played (Bendtner/Chamakh up front, Song/Diaby in MF and Vermaelen/Djourou? as CB).
    Arsenal’s style of play has changed since 10 years ago. Previously, we broke with speed and scored a lot of goals when the opposition was unbalanced (“getting a corner against Arsenal is like a goal scoring opportunity for Arsenal” was a common perception). I’d like to see us try 4-4-2 with Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Gibbs – Fabregas, Song, Wilshere, Nasri – RvP, Walcott. Playing Walcott as the main striker (i.e. as TH14) and RvP off him (as DB10) with two playmakers on the wings in Cesc and Nasri would terrify any opposition. Crosses and through balls from Cesc, Nasri’s dribbling and both of them can score…

  7. @ Woolwich I dont think the fact that Bendtner been played out of position when he was played helped with that miss against Barcelona I would have expected a striker playing regularly in their correct position to have scored as they might have had more confidence infront of goal.

    @James correct Juve my appologies.
    I still think Vela is to small and lacking confidence if we had to have kept one of the two for me it would be bendnter all day everyday over carlos.

  8. A bit surprising to me. Wenger said that the team scored enough goals but had to defend better. So far he has sold a defender and bought an attacker. It will be interesting so see what happens next.

  9. Gervinho never actually plays as a central striker, during his time at lille last season he only played on the wing,Lille played one up front which was Sow and if Sow got injured they bought in Frau or De Melo to play as the central striker so they never moved Gervinho into a central postion, he is predominantly a right winger so maybe if he takes Theo’s place on the right wing now that Theo is a bit stronger perhaps he may be moved to being a central striker?

  10. @RedGooner
    I doubt it, he has a basic flaw in his technique in that he can do an awful lot of what made DB10 so brilliant but he struggles to bring the ball under control. The contrast with our Dutch maestros is painful, Robin perhaps lacks Dennis’ vision (only Cesc is comparable) but his ability to get the ball to do what he wants it to is unparalleled.

  11. @RedGooner First of all get all your facts correct! .. His name is Nicklas not Nicholas .. next Henry played for Juventus not Inter and the only reason Bendtner has better stats the Vela is that Wenger favoured him more as he was worse than Vela and Wenger being all about the youth and all couldnt bare seeing a player as shit as Bendtner so he tried to make him better therefore Bendtner played more games than Vela but at the end of the day Wenger failed and Bendtner is STILL shit! Hence why HE is leaving this summer not Vela. If you look at it whenever Vela got a game it was off the bench and when he came on it was in games already won and he managed to score goals of van Persie standards. But this season we should expect to see more of Vela now that his roadblock is out of the way.

  12. I expect Arsene Wenger to sign Samba as our next player do what Campbell did for invicible Arsenal.

  13. it is best that Bendtner leaves – he is not the same player or person since his accident and failed marriage. gervinho could well be the perfect ploy for vela – who knows? interesting post Walter, thank you

  14. correct me if i’m wrong, but i’m sure i heard somewhere that Didier played in midfield earlier in his career. Also Henry played for Juve not Inter. Bizarre that you could know all there is to know about Bendy but not TH14… 😛

  15. Just curious – did anyone compare Drogba & Chamakh when Chamakh joined us last season?

    Both players were 26 when they left France to join English clubs.

    But Drogba (32) had scored exactly twice as many goals as Chamakh (16) did in their last season in France respectively.

    Hmm …

  16. yeah but we did get chamakh on a free, whereas drogba was 24M or something like that

  17. I think as has been pointed out above, Gervinho is actually more of a right winger. Which probably make his goals scored stat more impressive. As you point out Walter, he is a different sort of player to Drogba. Gervinho won the Ivory Coast player of the year award ahead of Drogba, and Kolo Toure compared him to Eto’o and said If Gervinho finds the right club he could emulate the Cameroonian striker. Hopefully, Arsenal is the right club, and if he can be just about half as good as Eto’o, he would have proved a great signing.

  18. Regarding Bendtner, I don’t think most of us realise how little he played last season. Just 3 starts in the League. Is it any wonder that he wants to go to another club? I have a sense of ‘what if’ about this. I think Bendtner will become comparable to Drogba (to carry on from this article) He has the quality for it, he has lacked enough of opportunity to grow into that role. His technique and touch is better than Drogba’s was when the latter came to the English league, and I think Bendtner will go on to have a very good career, and score his fair share of goals. If only he had more chances, if only he had taken the chances that came his way, if only he wasn’t maligned and ridiculed out of hand, he might have grown with us. Still, I think it is the right time for both him, and Arsenal to part ways. just makes me a little sad though.

  19. I don’t really like the idea of comparing players just because the come from the same country. Vela has often been compared unfavourably to hernandez for that reason, and it’s really unfair. Not everyone progresses at the same rate, and their nationality has nothing to do with the rate that they will progress (and in vela’s case, he’s had much fewer opportunities than javier, and most of the time playing in a position that isn’t his best – I wonder how well chicharito would do on the left wing!)

    That said, I do hope that gervinho can continue to grow as a player and one day reach the heights of drogba. The evidence is that he is improving every season, just by looking at his goals and assists stats. The question is, when will he peak and how good will he be when he does? I think this is the perfect time for him to move to England as it will be a new challenge for him, and one that I think will help him to continue this improvement. I do think he has the potential to be as good as drogba, even though he is a vastly different type of player.

    @nipuna – I don’t think chamakh will ever be as good as drogba. He is an excellent target man, and can be brilliant in the air, but he just doesn’t seem to have the instincts of a goalscorer. It’s possible he will develop that, but I have to say I doubt it. On a number of occasions last season he was one-on-one with the keeper, but rather than take the shot, he tried to hold the ball up and pass it. It’s disappointing, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing to offer. He was a major player bordeaux when they won the french league, which was no small feat for them. He had a very good start to the season with us as well, and might have contributed more had his path to the first team not been blocked by the magnificent van persie.

  20. gervinho is a far better player compare wif bendtner…hv bn watchn dis guy since 2006 nd hv wished arsene goes 4 him wich nw is reality…i cn bet he’s better than solomon kalou.real talk.

  21. The reason I came up with comparing Drogba and Gervinho was because both of them are from the same country and have played by the same club (Le Mans).
    And Lille although a team that is in contention for the title since 2 seasons (since Gervinho joined them 😉 ) is not really considered a big club in France. It was some 50 years since they had won the league.

    But once again don’t expect to see a copy of Drogba on the playing field. He is another type of striker, one that suits the Arsenal game much more than Drogba would have done imo.

  22. @ Walter, Is Gervinho intelligent without the ball, and is he a hard working closing down type of forward?

  23. Adam, that is what I have seen from him. maybe at times too hard working and sometimes missing sharpness as a result in front of goal.

  24. @Davi:

    No, Chamakh is incredible! Don’t pick on Chamakh! 🙂 Ok, maybe I’ve said this so many times on here that I’m starting to sound like a broken record 🙂 But the reason I’m so impressed with Chamakh has more to do with his talents as a striker/playmaker rather than his skills as a striker alone. So I guess I can see your point as well.

    I’m wondering if this new signing of Gervinho is an indication that maybe Wenger is interested in trying to do something else with Chamakh? Otherwise, if you don’t want him, please send him on to Barcelona. Thanks 🙂

  25. @ Anne.
    Don’t get me wrong. I like chamakh, I just don’t think he will ever be as good as drogba, who is one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t think that’s too harsh on him.

  26. Personally, I’m excited about this new signing of Gervinho. I can’t watch the French league where I live, so I’m not sure exactly what to expect from him, but I trust Arsene. Thanks for some background info, Walter.

    Where Bendtner is concerned, I think we should clarify that he’s still only a “possible departure.” It sounds like he probably will be moving on, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Personally, I like Bendtner, but I can understand his desire to move on. Right now, his value to Arsenal is mainly as a sub for RVP, and I can understand why he would want to go somewhere else where he might have better prospects. And I also like Vela as well. I think he deserves more of a chance to prove himself before he is written off.

    I guess my main interest is what Arsenal’s decision to sell Clichy and sign another striker says about their tactics next season. Are we looking at tactical changes? Arsene just recently said:

    “We have Kieran Gibbs, Armand Traore and Thomas Vermaelen who can play at left back so we have what we need.” So, looks like no new signings in that area. What are the implications?

  27. @Davi:

    I agree that he’s not as good as Drogba as a striker, so thanks for clarifying that. I guess I’m just personally very interested in seeing his skills as a playmaker utilized more.

  28. About the left back?
    Oh, I think AW read my articles about he left back. He nodded in agreement and decided not to buy anyone. LOL 🙂

  29. @Walter:

    I noticed that as well. I agree that it was the clear motivator for Arsene’s decision 🙂

  30. @Walter:

    Particularly good call on Thomas Vermaelen as a potential left back. Looks like Wenger is thinking along those lines as well. After all, he just said so, didn’t he? I’m impressed 🙂

  31. Good to see a real debate regarding the Arsenal, too many blogs out there with nothing positive to say, just the old AAA.

    As we are busy comparing players, I think I’ll add my little bit.
    Some would say that we are entering a make or break season for Arsene Wenger, I for one don’t think so, it looks more to me like the team is finally after the last three years coming to shape, the likes of Ramsey, Wilshire, Frimpong, Bartley,JET Miguel, Gibbs, even Theo and Vella are all at the starting point for the season to come all of them look like being in the first team squad, for the first time there will be competion for the likes of Diaby, Song, Cesc, Rosicky, Arshavin and Nasri.
    It could turn out to be a truly great season for us, ‘d like to see us line up like this for the first few games against Man.U and NewCastle & Liverpool.
    ……… Chesney……..

    Subs..Manone,Gibbs, Song,Chamakh, Nasri, cesc

    I think the team has the potential to do some damage to opponants, Theo has to play upfront as he has great pace and is a realy good finsher along side RVP they could rip most defences to shreds, and as we have both Arshavin and gervinho supply the balls into our strikers and chipping in with a few goals our front four look among the best in the EPL.
    The two holding / creative players in the middle of the park I give over to Ramsey and Wilshire, they are the best british midfiled pairing in the league and proved it againts Man U last season. our back four now looks to have a solid feel about it with Vermaelen filling the problem left side of defence.
    the subs, well who would not want such a talented bench.

  32. @jazbo:

    Wow, so you’re relegating both Cesc and Nasri to the bench? Don’t know if I would, but I can see the merits of your formation as well. I guess that’s one of the problems that comes along with having such a wealth of talent at your disposal 🙂

    Let’s see…If I was going to go with a 4-4-2, I agree with your back four, but I would change it in midfield and up front. This is what I would do:





    Of course, whether 4-4-2 is the best way to go is still an open question. And I hate leaving out Wilshere, particularly. Honestly, I’m really curious to see what AW does. Either way, it kills me how many talented players will be stuck on the bench no matter what he does. But like I said, I guess that’s just one of the problems that comes along with having such a good team 🙂

  33. Anne..

    The only problem for the changes you have made is that Gervinho has never been played up front as a striker, he’s a tricky winger who likes to come inside and the problem with playing Theo in the midfield is that he tends to run up blind alley ways, his best postion is that of a striker where he can use his speed and directness to greater effect, Chamakh is not a midfielder he’s be lost out there, his great asset is heading the ball and hold up play, he brings nothing to the game as a wide player.
    Nasri and Fabregas in the middle of the park raises the question who’s going to be minding the shop when they have both gone forward, one can e be accomadated in the centre but not the two of them , I think this the reason why Nasri was played as wide player for much of his time at the club, but like you say this is just oen of the problems with having such a talented squad of players, which is what we now have.

  34. @ Walter, good article. I actually remember Gervinho at the 2010 WC, where he stood out not just for his unusual head shape. I then googled him and it turns out he is a Gooner and therefore for this reason alone, he is much better than Drogba in my opinion.

    I am loving the fact that we are getting players in who love the club and are fans. We now have Chamakh, Jenkinson and Gervinho who have been desperate to play for us.

    It appears that with the shipping out of Bendtner and signing of Gervinho, we are moving closer to the ‘total football’ philosophy. I think the 25 man rule has accelarated the direction we are going in and is at last a positive factor to emanate from having it in place.

  35. @jazbo:

    I actually realized just after I posted that that I should have switched Gervinho and Walcott. So, Walcott up front and and Gervinho in midfield. And I don’t think that Chamakh would be lost in midfield. I think he has too much “total football” skill to be lost anywhere on the pitch that you put him. As for defensive weakenesses in my proposed formation…Well, ok, I guess you have a point there. 🙂

    I guess I’m just a sucker for attacking football, and I would love to be able to try out the attacking formation that I presented above for JUST ONE game without consequences…Come on, wouldn’t it be fun to watch? 🙂

  36. @Gooner Gal:

    I agree with you about Arsenal’s “total football” philosophy. I really hope they keep going in that direction.

  37. If Nasri and Fab do stay its going be a difficult team to pick i am dying to see gervinho in the gunners shirt, i also think Ryo may do well on this tour to Asia and Arsene will have to try get a permit for him, i figure the main aim for him on the tour is for public relations, but from what i have seen he is a bonafide talent.

    OK still need a CB, DM and a CF

    let the games begin

  38. Always makes me laugh when people start laying out team line ups

    Only one opinion counts and he isn`t posting

  39. Laundyender, only till we find out under which nickname he is posting. 🙂

  40. @Walter
    Far more interesting to find out what alias Harry “Gooner till I die” Redknapp is posting under 😉

  41. Here’s my lineup:
    Sanga Kos Vermaelen Gibbs
    Nasri… Wilshire

    Gervinho Walcott
    Van Persie

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