Why I love… Marouane Chamakh

It’s only been a couple of months but already Marouane Chamakh has forced his way into the “Why I love…” series. Find out how I’ve fallen for him so quickly…

Marouane Chamakh joined Arsenal on 21 May 2010 after nine seasons at French club Bordeaux. The son of Moroccan parents, Chamakh was born and raised in France but chose to represent the country of his parents at international level and at the age of 26 is now the current captain of the Moroccan national team.

Growing up in the small town of Tonneins, Chamakh’s rise in football was a gradual one. His move to Bordeaux at the age of 16 owed as much to his incredible physique as his technical ability – Chamakh stood 6’0 by the age of 15 – and he stood out in the French club’s youth academy. Despite flirting with the notion of regular first team football in 2003/04, Chamakh did not become an integral member of the team until 2005/06 and his career really took off in the 2007/08 season when Laurent Blanc was appointed manager.

Chamakh's strength and bravery is his hallmark

Chamakh has spoken of his immense respect for Blanc and whole-heartedly thanked him for making him the player he is now, but the truth is that their relationship took some time to grow. When Blanc first joined Bordeaux he rarely played Chamakh, preferring David Bellion and David Cavenaghi instead, and the Moroccan finished with just four goals for the season.

This continued for the first half of the 2008/09 season as Chamakh was used mainly as a substitute, but he turned it all around in December with two goals off the bench as Bordeaux came from three goals down to beat AS Monaco 4-3. Blanc reconsidered his stance on Chamakh, putting him into the starting team with Yohann Gourcuff as support and the Moroccan responded with eight goals as the club won their first title in ten years.

Chamakh’s unbelievable aerial ability saw him score the most headed goals of any player across Europe during Bordeaux’s title-winning season and his hard-working, team-orientated playing style drew attention from Arsene Wenger. Midway through the 2009/2010 season Arsenal made a bid for the striker. Bordeaux refused, living in hope that the Moroccan would re-sign, but Wenger pursued and six months later picked up Chamakh on a free transfer.

Upon joining Arsenal few really knew what to expect: statistics showed a relatively slow career progression and a fairly meager strike rate. Was he entering the squad merely as a third central striker to provide depth behind Robin van Persie or Nicklas Bendtner, or was their something different to him?

In my preview of this season I stated that “he appears to have the right attitude and his aerial ability, work-rate and durability will make him a vital player for us”. Fifteen games into his career at Arsenal he has proved that prediction correct, scoring eight goals (a number of them headed), working extremely hard for the team and ensuring that the absences of van Persie and Bendtner have not been felt.

In many ways he is an atypical Arsenal player: physically imposing, technically sound rather than superior and with a fitness record that van Persie and Co would kill for. But look more closely and he has all the psychological elements that Wenger desires: humble, patient, a genuine team-player and perhaps most importantly, very intelligent, as his Bachelor in Accountancy clearly shows.

Perhaps the best thing about Chamakh is that you absolutely know what you are going to get. He will never score the goals of Thierry Henry but as a player he has thus far squeezed the absolute most out of his talent. His strength in the air is remarkable – is there a player in Europe better than him at winning headers? – but he has also shown to be positionally aware and surprisingly street smart, a point underlined by the five penalties he has already milked this season.

Chamakh is a man who has got where he is because he works hard, knows his limits and listens to the people around him. Greater talents have achieved less than him but the brilliant thing is that at age 26, as a physical front-man, his best years are ahead of him – just look at Didier Drogba. That he will be spending them at Arsenal just makes it all the sweeter.

And that is why I love Marouane Chamakh.

Have your say on Marouane Chamakh by leaving a comment or purchase a ‘Chamakh Attack!!’ t-shirt or sticker at the AFCB Shop.

Read other articles in the “Why I love…” series here.



  1. A team player who will not shy away from giving the ball to his team mate who is well positioned other than squandering a goal scoring opportunity . That s what l love about him. l just wish our full backs work hard to improve their crosses to get the most of his aerial ability. some times l wonder what the manage will do to have him and RVP play in the same team. will he drop one DMF to accommodate both strikers ? what do u thing?

  2. I also love Chamakh, (in the footballing sence!) already N.Bendtner is crying because he can’t get a look in, he’s work rate,reflexes, heading ability, pace etc, everything he’s got over slow brained Bendtner, I think it’s bye bye benny boy come january, but with the Chamakh Attack! it’s only goin to get better. p.s RVP needs to eat more fruit & veg to keep bones & groin strong, &stay fit for longer, yeh,thats it for now.

  3. Yeah, he was a great buy – any remind me, again, how much did we pay? As you say, he was free! Tremendous workrate, durability and refusal to be dominated or intimidated, he is ALWAYS in the game. His chief strength – his heading ability – doesn’t really lend him to fit into the ‘Arsenal way’ which makes me think Arsene may be trying to vary things a bit, up front, at least. Along with Squillaci and Kos I think last summer’s crop were the best new players Wenger has picked up for quite some time and I suspect Vermaelen’s return will see the defence just get better and better. Whilst Squillaci and Kos have at times struggled to adapt to the premiership, Chamakh plays like he’s been here for years – an exceptional start which I don’t think even Henry or Berkampf managed. Nice post.

  4. He is wonderful guy whom i think added competition which will make Bendtner & Van Perse to pull up their socks. We now have a striker who can do his duty- that of scoring goals instead of relying on Fabregas. I am sure with age still on his side, the African will be a force to reckon in Europe.

  5. Mat, I think he revert to the 4-3-3 the tore up place at the begining of last season, remember Everton,6-1 etc, and then RVP got injured, now it’s all a bit defensive minded, because teams have sused out how we play now and hitting US on the brake!, listen, in my opinon we need a goalie like Lehman/Seaman,(a bit mad & fearless/ cool calm & colleced) a cover for Sagna, buy sakho to play along side the terminator, when Frimpong? gets back to fittnes he’ll cover for song, and Wenger has got get Affelay an excellent player, I know we nuff talent in that area but this player would make a difference a lot of difference, a cut above Rosicky & Ashravin both gifted players, but he’s young, fresh & an green…an hungry, and One more striker, Bendtner,Vela can leave, along with Eboue, and Denillson, bring in the J.E.T let him loose, take him out of the Hanger (where they keep jets) and let him Gun down teams for fun, Yeh! over & outta.

  6. Rightly expressed Andy ! I am impressed by the fact that he is a Qualified Accountant, very much unlike the typical career professional footballer.He really is not afraid of putting his body on the line for the club, he is humble and delivers effectively in most of the games.There is no doubt that his presence at the club has changed the striking pecking order.
    The guy is a bonus to have and we can only expect better things to come from him. Up the Gunners ! Spuds prepare for CHAMACK ATTACK on saturday.

  7. I read your article and comments
    am morroccan and i’m very happy 🙂 and sad in the same time 🙁
    >>>Happy >> because you say the truth about Chamakh and you encourage him to do better !
    >>>Sad >> because some “pseudo-supporters ” : they are arabics from Saudia , Qatar ..etc , they hate Chamakh and they say that s they love Arsenal ….they are just Jalous because a Morroccan play for such a great team (Arsenal) … they hate Morroccoo > but they don’t know that in Europe Morroccans players are very good (thanks to Allah )
    (PS : i’am not a supporter of Arsenal > i love only One team in Moroocco (Wydad Atheletic Club)
    we are not proffessionels but i love my country )
    Thank you and exuse my language ( am not very god at English (only Arabic and frensh)

  8. Chamakh is an excellent player and one that I live as much as I did Eduardo.
    He is quiet, hard working and physically very talented.
    He holds the ball up well, gets up quickly after being clattered and has scored plenty of times for a player new to the PL.
    Love him to bits, and if Arsenal win the league this year, so will everyone else.
    Off topic, if bendtner keeps up disrupting, sell his ass.

  9. Like a broken clock, there comes “RasJudah” buy this player and that, get rid of this player and that! I’m sure you never heard of Koscielny or Squillaci before they came to The Arsenal. Just maybe you should let the management do their job. I may agree though that we may need a cover for Song until Frimpong returns.

  10. Chamack is great, chamack is humble, he is hardworking, he talk little but delivers a lot. As an Arsenal die hard, I love Chamack. Give him one year in the Premier league and we will see him at his best.

    Viva Arsenal

  11. At last someone agrees with me that Chamakh has been great this season, i have a manu friend who goes on and on how useless chamkh is, according to him with the service he gets from arsenal he should be the top scorer till now. And they go on saying chicharito is a better player already than chamakh though he has proved nothing, yes he is slow, no great control of the ball, he wont find a cutting pass like a henry or rvp could do, he cant take set pieces or corner’s but still the most impt is that he is a team player, he heads well, holds the ball up getting other players into play, stays fit, defends also well from corners and set pieces, and boy is he smart, he has had so many players sent off and won so many penalty’s for us already that i think the arsenal team in itself is surprised and hence missing most of them, i believe we have converted only 3 out of 5 of them i think.. His only bad game of the season i can remember was against Newcastle where he was ineffective. Well have to start with both RVP and chamakh bendtner will just have to wait his chance.

  12. I hope entering the “Why I love…” series does for Chamakh what it did for Song – a goal on Sat would be very welcome!

  13. it is too early to pass judgment on chamak. let the player settle down and at the end of the season then one could rightly issue a verdict. EPL is a very cruel league. Few good performances after 13 matches in 38 matches against world’s best is not the right time to acclaim chamak a class act yet. For rvp, bender and vela it will be better to offload them for the former is injury prone, bend no class and vela not up to even championship material.

  14. damn advertising, can’t you switch off at least the tone/audio? Pickel am Abend? Kein Problem!
    I just get a heart-attack each time accessing your page ……….. 🙁 😯

  15. Aman–on your neg points about chamakh..I actually have to disagree with most of those, his touch/technique has been shown to not be bad at all..it isn’t of the rvp, henry standard but still very decent, & while being no Walcott he is actually pretty darn quick hence winning all those penalties, you said he can’t do the eye of the neediest passes well what do you think of his return little chipped pass to cesc last Sunday, it was perfection..beautifully judged.. Anyway while I think the only major thing he needs to work on is his finishing, overall he is excellent.

    I read an interview about him recently, & it was showed what a humble & intelligent young man he is, as mentioned he studied accounting, he is active in politics is his local area in France, & on holidays back home in morocco he waits at his brothers Moroccan tea shop..a super star footballer waiting tables, can you imagine that..what humility & what a legend..(when interviewer expressed surprise marouane said something like ‘if you knew me, you wouldn’t be’) that’s the kind of player & personality we need around the club. I love MC

  16. Chamakh is a great asset for arsenal. he brought a lot of elements that were missing for the past 4-5 years. a combination of him and VP (that is when VP at his top form) upfront will be deadly, and that will win us titles. Chamakh should be a great example to the players around him and they should learn from his presence on the pitch. hes everywhere. but yes he does lack a bit of striking ability. he always opts to pass the ball at times more than taking a strike. that is good and bad. can be good, becuase he can create a better chance to score. but Bad when he has that chance to strike hard and test the keeper, he doesnt take it. I think this lack of striking the ball will come and be present when VP is around him. VP has a killer left, and he will take em if the chance arises. if this Arsenal Team keeps this pace of play that they have going now, and the metality. they can beat Chelsea and Man U to take the title.
    and by the way for the comment above from the Morrocan(WACNARIWAC). I am an Arab too, and I am so proud to see the likes of Chamakh and Nasri play in a big club. plus seeing them be one of the best players in the world. you have every right to be proud of Chamakh, hes a great example to many players out there. and this is only the begining at Arsenal.
    how about Nasri and Sagna’s influence on the french team?

  17. As a reader who has been blogging since this site first started it saddens me that I have not been able to take part in this blogging community for just shy of a year.
    So far this season, I am happy with how arsenal are situated at the moment. Second in the league, quarter finals of the carling cup and on the brink of the group stages of the champions league.
    For me the top 5 stand out players this season are: 1. Jack wilshere – the youngster turned first team regular, so creative with a fabregas-esque eye for a pass 2. Samir nasri – stepped out of the shadow and kept the consistency going. 3. Lukasz fabianski – so much critisicism this lad has got, yet he continues to show he has the talen (despite a blip v newcastle) 4. Alex song – continues to work hard all game protecting the back four whilst adding goals to his game. 5. Marouane chamakh – first season in the premier league, and he has been our main focal point in attack since season began (loved his goal v birmingham).
    -m very optimistic that we can win something this season to be in such a good position and to have rvp, diaby, ramsey, vermaelen all to come back is exetremely exciting.

  18. On the whole I have been impressed, but he needs to be more consistent. A few games he has been quite anonymous. His work rate is good though and he links up pretty well. Not sure how you fit both him and RVP in the same line up. I still like Bendtner for his energy and positive attitude but fear he will leave in January if he sees that he is 3rd in the pecking order. I think that would be a shame. Especially when the injury curse hits!

  19. Give him time, it’s only his first season. If he carry on and improve he can reach the level of Alan Smith or the other great Arsenal strikers.

    More worried about RVP, he is supposed to be on par with the Ronaldos of the footballing world but remain stagnant due to injuries. Hunterlaar is taking over RVP as the main striker for Holland and maybe Chamakh/Walcott even Bendtner will do that too.

    Or maybe Arsene will buy Dzeko next season 😛 ok wishful thinking 🙂

  20. Love him too! There wasnt a better summer transfer in the world. Free and he adds so much to the team. Shows teams like Man City what being smart with money does

  21. Chamakh is a credit. A credit to Morocco. A credit to France and a credit to Arsenal. A credit to football in fact for being a model professional, doing his job well, behaving hisself and always showing respect to club, fans and those that have given him the opportunities. That allied to his abilities means he’s going to have a big career.

    I have to laugh these days when I read people spouting ‘Sell Bendtner’, ‘Sell Vela’, ‘Sell Van Persie’, ‘Sell Denilsen.’ You dozy twots. You blow in the breeze like gutter trash. Go sell yerselves…

  22. Hey, billi, do you get sound/music or something when you access this site? I get nothing. What advertising you talking about? Did you read this, Andrew?

  23. @Hey Nonny Mouse , yes, I listen radio via my noteboke resp. web and so I have my sound of the pc on, and when there is sound on a webpage, it’s far too loud, and on Andy’s blog appears a German advertising for Clearasil, it’s awful …….. 😕

  24. Chamakh is like Adebayor but with better mental abilities/team morale and also better understanding of the game (less offsides, better passing/movement). Now that we play 4-3-3 we can’t play both him and van Persie centrally so I think we might see van Persie as a winger. He will score less but still provide us with his superior offensive skills in the team. Maybe Robin will be less injuried when he doesn’t have to battle with centre backs as a target player which, to be frank, isn’t his forte?

  25. @ billi / Hey Nonny – billi is hearing it because it’s the German ad. It shouldn’t be making an auto-sound though, I’ll get that sorted out ASAP. Sorry about that.

  26. @ laninja – You want Dzeko? Why, exactly? Chamakh is better than him and they are basically the same type of player. Plus we have Bendtner, who has the potential to be far superior to both of them if he gets a run of games. Just how many strikers do you think we can accommodate?

  27. I think it’s worth trying RVP alongside Chamakh. The problem is, RVP would be out on the wing and although he is certainly capable having played there for club and country, it would be hard for Wenger to do, due to him announcing last year that RVP is now a centre forward.

    We can’t afford to have RVP feeling left out (like Bendtner). For me, Chamakh was brought in to bolster our striking options rather than to replace Robin as 1st choice. The latter is fit now and I hope he gets game time tomorrow.

  28. You’d be hard pressed to find an Arsenal supporter who doesn’t believe that our team is better than Spurs. We just need to bear in mind that our perceived superiority means Jack. Every match starts 0-0 and every result has to be achieved. Even against them lot. We know that Arsenal are better, we know that we can outscore them, but this is Arsenal v Spurs and anything can happen.

    I am pretty confident. I am pretty confident that we will win, I am pretty confident that we can score twice and I am pretty confident that we will probably concede one. I’m also pretty confident that Arsenal are daft enough to give the likes of Bale and Ralph Fart enough space to score. So that means that we will probably win 2-1. Can it be that simple though?

    After starting the season scoring goals like confetti at home we have recently found it more troublesome. Is there a trend there, or just an anomaly? We don’t really know. Arsenal don’t often go long without goals and we’ve pulled off two highly admirable away wins at Wolves and Everton since the 1-0 home defeat to Newcastle. (Note how everyone in the media, northern or southern, is contractually obliged to brown-nose the Mags by calling them ‘New-CAstle’ and not ‘New-CARstle’). We should be perfectly capable of scoring against Spurs.

    The sliver of concern I have is that we often do not put teams away like we should and that could give Spurs an unnecessary cause for hope. There is a 10-15% chance for me that we may struggle to score, for whatever reasons and through whichever near-misses or gripes, and that they pull off a 1-0 pillage. I don’t want to contemplate it. I don’t want to give it breath by validating it. I’m just aware enough to know that the opposite of what you want or believe is feasible can sometimes be precisely what happens.

    As always in a north London derby, the relief and joy of a win will be considerable but a speck in the ocean in comparison to the horror of a defeat. It cannot be allowed. It cannot be tolerated. It must be put to the sword with a confident, commanding and clinical performance. Chins up. Heads high. No messing about. Three points.

  29. @ Filipino Dan – I agree with the comment that “Chamakh was brought in to bolster our striking options rather than to replace Robin as 1st choice” but not the comment that “The latter is fit now and I hope he gets game time tomorrow”.

    If players are playing well they should keep playing. Chamakh has earned the opportunity to stay as the main striker in the team — his contribution and our results speak for themself. In my opinion van Persie, just like Bendtner, has to earn their way back into the side. Wenger will rotate, there is no question of that, and those players need to show they give more than what Chamakh does, or that they should both be in the starting team together.

    That’s the advantage of a strong squad, it encourages players to work harder and perform better to earn their place in the team. Although Chamakh was brought in to bolster our attacking options, what a slap in the face it would be to revert to van Persie for a big game like this when he has done everything to merit a starting place.

  30. Game time doesn’t mean a start.

    I agree that Chamakh is the man in form; his goal for Morocco on Wednesday night further illustrates your point. As a big fan of Van Persie even I would struggle to justify RVP being put straight back in. But I do hope he gets a chance (he didn’t against Wolves or Everton) to play and prove/ remind us that he remains our best attacker, either coming on for a ‘winger’ or as the centre forward (depending on how Chamakh is playing).

    We’re lucky to be having this conversation and I hope that between FA Cups, Carling Cup, League and Europe, we will be able to make the forwards feel wanted!

  31. @Andrew

    LOL, Andrew you tickle me bones. Chamakh is really good but saying he is better than Dzeko is just >.<. I know your based in Germany but I do watch alot of Bundesliga.

    I'll give you one reason why Dzeko is better, he can score with left foot, right foot, head…. you name it. Chamkh I love but really needs to improve his shots. Look at the number of goals Dzeko scores from outside the box since the past four seasons.

    Anyway I was suggesting if for some reason RVP moves, then I would want Arsene to buy somebody really good to replace. Before the flaming start this is all hypothethical, I speak in jest I might add :P.

    Just look at how many goals Chamkh scored since joining Arsenal, imagine if Dzeko joins how many goals he would score. In Sum Dzeko is really a different type of striker than Chamkh, Dzeko is more like Henry but Chamkh is more Alan Smith/Hartson (with technical skills). Coupled with the fact tha Dzeko is still 24 too.

    irritating BGM though..heh

  32. Assuming that RVP is good to go, I think we should grant Chamakh with 60 minutes to score. If not lets sub in RVP. Remember his comeback earlier this year? Honestly, I think RVP might have benefited from this break, he seems to be so creative on his comeback games.

    Btw, screw Bendtner, whos with me?

  33. @ laninja – I think you overrate Dzeko to be honest. Good player, but saying that just because Chamakh has stepped up, Dzeko will too is pretty presumptuous.

  34. @Andrew

    Dzeko dosen’t need to step up. I’m willing to bet he will be the top 10 strikers in 2 years time, he was voted for the ballon d-or.

    I was complementing about our team actually, that any striker with proven calibre will benefit from our midfield. Anyway Dzeko is just one of the players I really think is good, I also think Rafael Van Der Vart is a steal at 8 million too.

    Presumably supporters are saying Chamakh is the best, like Henry etc etc but when Chamkah goes through a bad patch I’m sure alot will diss on him.

    I really like Chamkah (hope he be our main striker 🙂 ) but I hope we all judge him after 1 season, its still only 13 games. Its very interesting to see him develop here. Just like what the Morroccan coach said, “He is starting to be a more complete player since joining Arsenal…” Not exact words but along those lines.

    Cheers! I’ve put a hex on Bale 😛

  35. Err just thought i’d point out that Seawell’s comments (if they are his at all) actually appeared on World of Arsenal.co.uk first!

    More importantly, come on The Arsenal!

  36. Any true gunner fan would realise how crap Chamak is. Am disappointed that until the Spuds game no one of you has commented on his inadequacies. He simply cant be our lead striker. He is in a team which needs trophies and winners. We need strikers of Villas,Tore,ronnies qualities not headers of the ball only.He cant take a shot at goal. Our old pair of strikers are a mile better than him. He can never be our main striker. Which striker cant take the ball to goal and decides to cross. Had we scored enough goals we couldnt have paid the price. Its crap strikers like Chamak who cost us the game.We need to start our proven and already tested strikers. Chamak scored only 8 goals for Bordeau. Dont be fooled by the 6 he has scored already because he has wasted sitters. Until we realise that he is costing us up front we shall loose games like these. If you cant defend then out score your opponent. Chamak has no desire for goal and thats why Persie, WALCOT and Bendtner are handy. I wont be suprised if Wenger starts our usual strikres in the comming games. Chamak is not good enough than our usual strikers.

  37. he is the real gunner…of the gunners….he loves arsenal since he was young and joins arsenal as his dream club…..good luck chamakh n arsenal…

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