Arsenal v Bolton: Forget Zombie Chamakh, It's Time For Park Life

Accused of being a one man team, can Ju-Young Parkprove himself to be Robin Van Persie's capable deputy up front for Arsenal where Chamakh has failed.
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Arsenal are being accused of being a one man team, but can Ju-Young Park now prove himself to be Robin Van Persie's capable deputy up front where Chamakh has failed.

It is perhaps understandable that Arsenal’s new South Korean, Ju-Young Park, hasn’t played much. Some have been baffled by his lack of playing time, starting or coming off the bench, but really Arsene Wenger hasn’t had much opportunity to play his new signing.

With the recent struggles his side have faced, it’s fair enough that the Frenchman is yet to throw his new recruit in at the deep end, with the exception of a 70 minute allowance against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup.

The opportunities for Park to settle into the side have been few and far between. Usually he would be afforded substitute appearances at the end of home games to ease him in, before starts against weaker teams if he fared well. However, there’s been little chance for Wenger to bring Park on because most of their victories have only been completely ensured at the final whistle. It’s difficult to ease a player into your side when you also have to concentrate on ensuring you get the three points.

I agree with Arsene’s recent comments that Park should certainly not be judged yet. People seem to assume that because he hasn’t featured much at all means that he’s not very good. The lack of prior knowledge about Park hasn’t helped this perception either – I feel there’s a slight ignorance about him, and that people should definitely wait to see him play a bit to begin to make a judgement.

I’ve watched all I can of Park on YouTube – obviously you can’t properly judge a player on highlights either – but he does look a tidy player. The problem is we play with one striker and two wingers, so Park may only get the chance to show his true worth in that lone striking role, which is rarely available at the moment.

That’s where I’d like to see him against Bolton in the Carling Cup. I’d like to see what he can offer us in the absence of Robin van Persie. Chamakh was given the chance against Stoke but didn’t offer the movement and end-product whereas Park does seem to me more like the poacher who can link up play that we’ll need when we can’t rely on Van Persie, and I’m hopeful of being proven right soon.

Park is more technical, like Van Persie, and seems to have that knack of being in the right place at the right time.

It’s inevitable that Van Persie won’t always be available to score the goals – and nobody else seems to be able to finish off our moves and get in the right places at the moment – so it’s vital that we find someone to fill that role to at least some effect. Hopefully we’ll have that in Park, because otherwise we may struggle massively to score goals without van Persie.

Our South Korean acquisition also seems to be a bit of a free kick specialist. I for one will be excited to see him have a go from a dead ball, as I think it’s something we’ve lacked for a while – far too many potential goals have been spurned from free kicks, and hopefully we’ll start seeing more end up in the net after Van Persie’s curler against Sunderland.

The main two things that I feel Van Persie brings to Arsenal are linking up the play and getting on the end of our moves. Chamakh is more of a hold-up player who tries to bring others into play, which doesn’t quite suit us. Park is more technical, like Van Persie, and seems to have that knack of being in the right place at the right time which I hope will see him become a reliable replacement for the Dutchman.

While I’m fairly confident Park will be able to apply the finishing touches to our moves, I’m unsure of whether he’ll be as good a foil to our players as Van Persie is. And until he plays in our first team instead of surrounded by reserves, we probably won’t find that out. It’ll be important, then, to ensure the three points early on in a few games so we can test out Park as our lead striker in amongst our strongest players.

At the moment it seems that people are expecting Park’s impact to come straight away because it may be that he’ll leave for military service in around 2 years. However, as Wenger says, he’ll take time to adapt and should be allowed the time too.

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