Marouane Chamakh started his career in Girondins de Bordeaux before making a move to Arsenal last season on a free transfer. He started with a few goals during the preseason fixtures before forcing Pepe Reina to suffer the ignominy of an own goal on the opening day fixture when Arsenal played against Liverpool in Anfield.
He scored his first goal in his home debut against Blackpool before joining the party when Arsenal thrashed Bolton by 4-1 in September 2010.
He also scored on his Champions League debut in the 6-0 spanking of eventual Europa League finalists SC Braga and continued his personal scoring record in the competition that extended from his Bordeaux days.
He scored in his Arsenal’s second Champions League tie against Partizan before scoring the match winner against Birmingham City in mid-October. He scored again in Arsenal’s third Champions League game against Shakhtar and it seemed as if he was destined to score in every game of the Champions League as long as he played.
The goals dried up a bit, but he found some form again in November, scoring a brace against Wolves before scoring Tottenham and Aston Villa.
Marouane Chamakh’s toe poke in Villa Park was his 10th goal in just 21 appearances, averaging a goal every two games, but Robin van Persie’s return to full fitness saw Chamakh relegated to the bench and he featured in lowly Cup ties.
This season, Marouane Chamakh has been a ghostly figure on the pitch and he has scored just two goals in 2011, unlike Robin van Persie, that has smashed 40 in the calendar year.
It’s so unfortunate to see how his form waned like a player that returned from a long-term injury, but it’s fair to say that Chamakh’s days are probably numbered in the club.
Marouane Chamakh has been linked with moves back to France, but he intends to spend the rest of the season with Arsenal before taking a decision this summer.
However, I feel it’s high time the Moroccan waves his goodbyes to the Gooners and here are five reasons why.
1. Lack of Playing Time
Since the return to full fitness of Robin van Persie in the tail end of 2010, Marouane Chamakh has featured sparingly for Arsene Wenger’s side. The manager plays with a sole striker and van Persie has always gotten the nod ahead of Chamakh.
Chamakh played a lot of games in the start of his Arsenal career due to the fact that van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner were out of action, nursing injuries. After van Persie’s return, Chamakh played only in Carling Cup and FA Cup ties and scored his first goal in four months in the 5-0 drubbing of Leyton Orient in March.
Chamakh’s last goal for Arsenal came in September 2011 (six months since his last goal) in the puzzling 4-3 defeat against Blackburn.
2. Arsenal’s Style of Play
Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy involves his side playing the ball on the ground with a lot of movement off the ball and intricate passing. It’s fair to say that Arsenal hasn’t really played to Marouane Chamakh’s strengths.
Chamakh is a forward that’s renowned for his work rate and superb aerial ability, but Arsenal’s fullbacks haven’t really fed the Moroccan with his bread and butter.
His first ever Arsenal goal was scored with his head against Blackpool, but he hasn’t really gotten a constant supply of aerial balls into the box.
The funny thing is that Chamakh tends to spend more time outside the box, but this is because he’s trying to fit into Arsenal’s style of play that involves a lot of linkup play.
Chamakh needs to move to a club that floats balls into the box at every opportunity. If he played for a Rugby outfit like Stoke City, Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant would have floated in a lot of balls into the opposition’s area.
Let’s not forget that they also have a not-so-secret weapon called Rory Delap.
3. Low Confidence Level
Chamakh was a striker that was never afraid to have a go at goal at the start of his Arsenal career, but he has shown lack of ability and quality in the recent games he has played for Arsenal.
I have a big hunch that his lack of playing time contributed to his lethargic performances, so he needs to move to a new club whose manager will give him that “lift” he clearly seeks.
Should Arsene Wenger delve into the transfer market to purchase a new striker, it would be clear for everyone to see that he doesn’t believe that Chamakh is good enough to be Robin van Persie’s No. 2.
4. Fresh Start
Even if Marouane Chamakh has spent just two seasons in England, I’m of the opinion that the Moroccan forward is in dire need of a fresh challenge from another club in Europe.
He has been linked with a move back to France, and it would be nice for the Moroccan to go back to “familiar surroundings” in Paris or southern France. Wherever his potential destination might be, a fresh start may be needed to reignite his waning career.
5. Going Down the Pecking Order
Many Gooners might feel that Marouane Chamakh still remains Arsenal’s No. 2 striker after Robin van Persie, but Arsene Wenger has hinted that he’ll soon start giving chances to Korean forward Park Chu-Young.
Park took his chance well in his Arsenal debut in the third round of the Carling Cup against Bolton with a superb curling effort that sent the Emirates into raptures. Park wasn’t really impressive against Marseille in the Champions League, but he has eased slowly into the side.
If Wenger decides to buy a new striker in the winter transfer window, Chamakh will certainly go down the pecking order.
Marouane Chamakh is a decent player that deserves to play week in, week out, but he’s clearly not getting that at the moment in Arsenal.
Unlike Nicklas Bendtner who spent countless weeks whining about lack of playing time, Chamakh has been silent on the issue and he recently expressed his frustration by saying that he won’t be in the fringes forever.
As much as I’d like Chamakh to stay, I feel it’s high time to cash in on the Moroccan forward to make a quid or two from a player that cost Arsenal—nothing.