There’s Mar to come

Marouane Chamakh

Marouane Chamakh has targeted the 20-goal mark in his first season at Arsenal.

The Morocco striker has impressed since a free transfer summer move from Bordeaux, with his recent strike at Aston Villa taking his tally into double figures.

The French-born forward would like nothing more than to continue to lead from the front for the rest of the campaign.

Read more after the jump…

“For me, if I can weigh in with 15 to 20 goals, it would be a very, very good season,” said Chamakh. “Whatever happens I hope to continue my progress.

“It has gone really well with the set-up here, I hardly knew anyone when I arrived, but they have all made me feel very welcome.

“It has been easy to settle in and this has allowed me to express myself and that’s very important.

“Personally, I am happy, but I can do better.”

Chamakh has become an instant hit with the Gunners supporters, and certainly offers Arsene Wenger’s side something different in attack.

“I give 200%, I play with my heart, I’ve got guts, I give everything I’ve got,” Chamakh said.

“I don’t cheat or cut corners, that’s my strength, my character and I think that they [the fans] like me for it.”

Such performances have seen Chamakh rise to second in the EA Player Performance Index.

The Morocco international has scored 291 index points this season, just three behind leader Didier Drogba – another African whose skills were honed in France.

Chamakh has made 16 EPL appearances for the Gunners so far this campaign, netting seven goals from his 21 shots on target.

Furthermore, the 26-year-old has provided four assists, attempted five dribbles and helped in defence too – making eight clearances and five interceptions.

On Monday, Chamakh will pit his wits against Manchester United in a contest billed as a clash of the title contenders.

United have held the upper hand over Arsenal in recent seasons but history tells us that the balance of power in this fixture can shift in the blink of an eye.

The Red Devils took all six points off the Gunners last term, won both legs of a European Cup semi-final clash the season before and prevailed 4-0 in a February 2008 FA Cup tie.

However, fortunes have ebbed and flowed during some classic encounters between these two teams over the years and anything could happen when the pair meet on Monday.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to his men to rise the occasion, especially striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The former Bulgaria international netted five goals on his last EPL outing against Wigan, which saw him top the EA Player Performance Index.

However, Berbatov was usurped by Drogba and Chamakh in the standings last week after United’s clash with Blackpool was postponed due to bad weather.

The 29-year-old will be looking to reclaim top spot this week by adding to his 11-goal haul – the most goals scored by any player in the Premier League.

As well as scoring goals, Berbatov has provided a further three assists meaning he has had a hand in 40% of the team’s EPL goals this season.

EA PLAYER PERFORMANCE INDEX HEAD TO HEAD

Marouane Chamakh v Dimitar Berbatov

MAROUANE CHAMAKH

  • Team: Arsenal
  • Position: Striker
  • Mins on pitch: 1402
  • Goals: 7
  • Shots on target: 21
  • Shots off target: 11
  • Passes: 237
  • Dribbles: 5
  • Crosses: 1
  • Assists: 4
  • Yellow cards: 3
  • Red cards: 0
  • Index score: 291
  • Index ranking: 2

DIMITAR BERBATOV

  • Team: Manchester United
  • Position: Striker
  • Mins on pitch: 1104
  • Goals: 11
  • Shots on target: 29
  • Shots off target: 15
  • Passes: 193
  • Dribbles: 17
  • Crosses: 3
  • Assists: 2
  • Yellow cards: 1
  • Red cards: 0
  • Index score: 290
  • Index ranking: 3
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