Will the REAL Carlos Vela please stand up

carlos-vela-2In September of last year, everyone was talking about Carlos Vela. Arsenal had recently decimated Sheffield United 6-0 in the Carling Cup and the young Mexican had stolen the show with a sublime hat-trick. The second of Vela’s three involved an audacious left footed chip over a back pedalling Paddy Kenny, a moment of skill that received a standing ovation from The Emirates. It was then deemed Vela’s time to step out the shadows and into the frontline at Arsenal, but we are now over one year later and still waiting for Carlos Vela to stand up and be counted.

Arsenal’s injury problems have been widely documented over the last few months. Robin Van Persie is once again set to be sidelined for the rest of the season and despite recent victories, Arsenal have undoubtedly suffered from the Dutchman’s absence. Arsene Wenger has been given a selection headache in which despite Eduardo and Vela being fit, he has often opted to play Andrey Arshavin as a lone striker. I am a big admirer of Vela’s potential yet I think it’s time he stepped forward and the Mexican has, in my eyes, been largely disappointing as of late.

The Arsenal squad is full of young talent and always has been under Arsene Wenger. The philosophy of the club means that not every young prodigy at The Emirates can make it, however there appeared to be no doubt around the future of Carlos Vela, it was a unanimous opinion that someday he would play a key role in Arsenal’s first team. Now I am not saying by any means that Vela’s time has passed, I just believe that the last year has been the perfect time to stake his claim and his performances have not been his finest.

The Mexican has suffered from on an off injuries; however he appears to be suffering from a similar lack of form and confidence to Eduardo. Wenger clearly feels as though they are not currently up to the task, preferring to deploy Arshavin in the striker role. Vela’s chances have been limited to substitute appearances recently however it was in his one start that I really noticed his downfall. Vela featured in a team full of youngsters in the Champions League tie with Olympiakos and despite the fact that the Mexican was in fact one of the most experienced members of the side that night, he was also one of the most disappointing. The Gunners lost the game 1-0 and Vela was guilty of wasting two golden opportunities. He was twice released one on one with Nikopolidis, yet missed chances that a striker of his potential should really be scoring.

Although Vela undoubtedly has potential, as we see in his moments of brilliance, the fact of the matter is that he only has 1 goal in 18 league appearance for the Gunners. Vela needs to now step out of the shadows when Arsenal need him most and fulfil his potential to become a great striker. The Mexican is clearly suffering from a lack of confidence and first team opportunities yet I can’t help but feel the next year may be make or break time for the man that has promised so much, but so far delivered so little.

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