Wenger: Gervinho will get goals

The Ivory Coast forward is helping drive the Gunners’ charge up the

Premier League table, but goals are proving hard to come by. After

being sent off on his Premier League debut at Newcastle for

slapping Joey Barton, Gervinho has since settled quickly following

an £11million summer transfer from Lille, where he provided

the most assists in the French top flight en route to the title

last season. The pacy 24-year-old has added to the Gunners’

formidable frontline, supplementing Theo Walcott on the opposite

flank while providing ammunition for in-form lead striker Robin van

Persie. However, Gervinho has gone six games without a goal and

will be hungry to add to his tally against Fulham on Saturday,

having missed golden opportunities in the matches with both Norwich

and then Borussia Dortmund in midweek. Wenger, though, is not

overly concerned. He said: “Gervinho is a fantastic provider and he

also creates space for the other players because he always goes

behind. “The problem with Gervinho is he is in the opposite

position of Robin van Persie – he is desperate for a goal and once

you are in that situation… “You could see the other night he had

the chance to score, but you start to think. When you start to

think you are already finished. “For the rest his game is

absolutely fantastic and he works hard for the team.” Wenger added:

“I spoke to him today about that, but he is not obsessed with

scoring goals, it will come naturally.” Like Morocco striker

Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho is set to play in the African Nations

Cup at the start of 2012, which could see him miss as many as 10

matches should the Elephants reach the final in Gabon on February

12. “It is a concern,” Wenger said. “When they come back, they look

really exhausted. I always give them extra time off.” Fortunately

for the Gunners, Cameroon failed to reach the finals, which start

on January 21 in Equatorial Guinea, meaning Wenger will not be

deprived of Alex Song. The 24-year-old defensive midfielder has

grown in stature again this season, having come a long way since

being hauled off at half-time following a torrid opening 45 minutes

against Fulham at Craven Cottage in November 2006. “He had periods

when he had doubts in his mind, when people say he was a bad buy,

when you are a young boy that is difficult to take, but Alex has

got over that,” said Wenger. “Either you play somebody or you

don’t. That is the best way to show confidence in a player.” Song

set up Van Persie’s second goal against Dortmund after bursting

down the left flank. Wenger said: “You would not expect what he

delivers at the moment because he looks also to be a creative

player.” Arsenal head into Saturday’s clash against Fulham looking

for a sixth straight Premier League win to keep them within

striking distance of the top four. Following 11 wins from 13 in all

competitions, which will see them host Manchester City in the

quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, Wenger’s squad have very much

turned the corner. The Arsenal manager said: “Consistency is the

biggest challenge because consistency is the most important thing

if you want to do well in the championship. “We can show we can go

from one competition to the other and keep the same focus. “I am

not sure that we are at the stage already where we can be

overconfident. “We are just recovering slowly and I believe it is

urgency in our mind and feeling in every game that we can go higher

up [the league].”