Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chamakh Can Help Turn Arsenal's Drogba Nightmare into a Fairytale

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chamakh Can Help Turn Arsenal's Drogba Nightmare into a Fairytale

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

ARSENAL'S record against Chelsea and Manchester United has been trotted out more times than 'Fairytale in New York' this week as memories are stirred of Didier Drogba's biannual mauling of the Gunners.

But if you can't beat them, join them; the latest renewal of this one-sided rivalry occurs in unusual circumstances with Arsene Wenger's side sitting one point above their adversaries as the New Year fast approaches. And while Drogba continues to struggle following the debilitating effects of malaria, Marouane Chamakh has quietly impressed as Arsenal's own battering ram.

In the same way that such a description does a disservice to Drogba's multifaceted talent, there is much more to Chamakh's game than a physical presence many would argue the Gunners have long since lacked in attack.

Such has been his impact since arriving in the summer on a free transfer from Bordeaux that Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner's injury absences have not been so keenly felt.

The 26-year-old has 10 goals from 20 starts this season with a notable impact that his team-mates no longer feel an early cross into the box is a futile effort given the Morocco international's aerial prowess and clever movement.

He has some way to go to match Drogba, who must still have Arsenal defenders trembling despite an apparent loss of form. Thirteen goals in as many matches against the Gunners' suggests the degree to which he can be nullified will once again go a long way to determining their success on Monday night.

But in Chamakh, they have a powerful presence of their own who is respectful of the strides his counterpart has made since joining Chelsea in 2004 after a stunning season with Marseille in which he scored 30 goals as they reached the UEFA Cup Final. …

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