Arsene Wenger has expressed his delight in seeing former Gunner Marouane Chamakh performing so well at Crystal Palace, ahead of a reunion with the Moroccan forward this weekend.
Wenger takes his side to Selhurst Park on Saturday and his former striker will line up against him, currently playing some of the best football that his time in England has produced.
Chamakh played for Arsenal from 2010 to 2013 before moving to Palace after he struggled to find a place in the team, especially at a time when Robin van Persie was unquestionably Wenger's first-choice forward and with good reason.
Wenger told Arsenal's official club website: “He came to Arsenal as a striker and in the first six months he did very well.
“After Robin van Persie came back from injury and he played as more of a sub, he lost confidence. I’m happy that he went to Crystal Palace and has made a good career now.”
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Relishing new opportunity
Since joining Palace, especially under Alan Pardew, the Moroccan international is thriving in a new position. He is playing slightly deeper now, behind the main striker and is finding that it suits him really well.
The Arsenal boss said: “He’s not the target man anymore, he’s more a midfielder or second striker and, because he’s a real team player, that position suits him very well.
“I always loved him because of his team attitude. He was a hardworking type of player. In the end he didn’t play and you have to give the players a chance to go somewhere and play.”
Chamakh is improving under Pardew and so is the rest of the team. Palace have found form under their new manager and are becoming a tough team to beat at Selhurst Park.
Since the Eagles changed their manager at the start of January and appointed former player Pardew as their new boss, they have won three of their last five Premier League matches including one against Tottenham Hotspur.
However, Wenger is confident his side can get a positive result on Saturday given their recent history in South London. Arsenal have not lost in their last 11 visits to Selhurst.
Wenger said: “It’s always very intense and it is a very dynamic ground, it’s a bit like Highbury as an old-fashioned stadium with a soul and it has a crowd that is always behind their team. We expect a passionate afternoon.”
He added: “Alan Pardew has done extremely well. They have found confidence again and they made positive results and that is what it is about when you are a manager.”