When Marouane Chamakh joined the Gunners back in 2010, plenty of eyebrows were raised. Yes, the Moroccan was a free transfer, but he had no experience outside of Ligue 1 and his goal-scoring record was disappointing to say the least.
Given that Arsenal are famed for their pacey, technically-minded strikers (those in the vein of Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, and Dennis Bergkamp), Chamakh stood out like a sore thumb.
But Arsenal fans tend to fall into two camps: those who consider Arsene Wenger to be the root of all evil at the Emirates and those who consider ‘Le Prof’ to be a flawless, untouchable deity, incapable of making mistakes.
As a result, some claimed that Arsene Wenger knew something about Marouane Chamakh that others didn’t. They suggested that the Morrocan would take the Premier League by storm and leave all the naysayers to eat their words. As it happened, this was the case – for a limited time at least.
There was a period of about 8 games, towards the start of his Arsenal career where he had to fill in for Robin Van Persie and did a sterling job. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. The naysayers were right.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Chamakh is not a particularly gifted striker, but he is a good header of the ball, he works hard and on his day he can be effective. When he’s afforded the trust and confidence of his manager and the fans, he’s able to put a string of performances together and score important goals.
Once RVP was back in the Arsenal side, however, Chamakh didn’t stand a chance of winning his place back. He was a little unlucky in that regard.
The move to Crystal Palace will doubtless have fans claiming that Chamakh has ‘found his level’. This, I think, is a little unfair. Whilst he’s probably not Arsenal standard, I think he is capable of performing for a mid-table club (and above) when he’s given enough opportunities to prove himself.
Arsenal fans won’t exactly bid him a fond farewell, but I for one can’t help but hope he proves the doubters wrong at Crystal Palace. Whilst he’s probably too old now (29) to revive his career and make another move to a top club, he can still re-build his reputation.
Whilst at the Emirates, he’s shown in flashes that he’s capable of doing so. The change of scenery is sure to help and let’s hope Ian Holloway is willing to offer him the opportunities he needs.
What’s your take? Will Marouane Chamakh re-find his feet at Crystal Palace?
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