With the rumours persisting that Nicklas Bendtner
could be back in the Arsenal fold for the first time in two years this weekend
due to injuries, Dave Seager has kindly allowed Gunners Town to repost this
brilliant article from Will Sparks that was published on 1nildown2oneup.net.
It was a cold wintery afternoon at The Emirates, and the game between
fierce north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur was deadlocked at 81
minutes into the game. Arsene Wenger, not renowned for his bold substitutions
began to prepare one. The substitutes name was Nicklas Bendtner, an 18-year-old
Danish centre-forward purchased from Copenhagen in 2004.
He made his way on to field, strode in to the box, leaped above Teemu
Tainio like a salmon, and the resulting winner was written into Emirates folklore
for the rest of our Arsenal supporting lives.
It should have been the start of a love affair with
the Gunner faithful.
Now, the scene I have tried to set in the opening paragraph makes it
seem like I was introducing someone who was going on to become young world
player of the year, unfortunately I wasn’t. I’m introducing Nicklas Bendtner, a
player who is now 25, and was on loan at Italian champions Juventus. He failed
to score in any of the 9 games he played in and in December his season took an
almighty blow as he got injured in a Serie A game against Calgari, and was
ruled out for the rest of the season.
I’ve always thought Bendtner has had a future at Arsenal, I often sense
in football that fans have that certain player that they have a soft spot for,
and for no particular reason either. However, apart from this weird obsession I
have for the clumsy Dane, I do happen to think he’s a massively talented
striker. He really started to blossom towards the end of the season in 2010, a
fantastic header away at Stoke City and goals in the dying seconds against Hull
City and Wolves respectively put Bendtner in the spotlight, showing everyone
what he could do when given the responsibility, and more importantly, when
under a lot of pressure.
He ended up with a final tally of 12 goals for the 09/10 season, which
for me is very impressive for a player who was never first choice, and very
impressive for a player who was injured for three months of that season as
well. Indeed he only actually started 19 games in an Arsenal shirt that season
with a further 10 appearances off the bench. He also weighed in with 6 assists.
Ever since the end of that season I have remained convinced that Bendtner is a
valid contender to play ‘number 9’ Arsenal.
When Bendtner was a teenager, he was getting the odd ten minutes here
and there, and rightly so. Robin van. Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Eduardo
were three men he had to contend with at that point in time. But it’s the
present in which I value his place in the Arsenal squad, when proper
competition is scarce. Olivier Giroud is currently the first choice striker,
and he’s a player that has divided opinion severely since his arrival. He has
17 goals and 10 assists in all competitions already. Most football fans I feel
would look at those numbers and think they’re incredibly decent, considering
it’s his first season in the division.
But although his statistics are impressive, I’m one of many who sees
Giroud as a very limited player…but why should he get a kicking from the fans
if he’s all that we’ve got? When Bendtner was in the squad, he would get the
odd start and often a substitute appearance because he was playing alongside
strikers that were far better than him and provided much more for the team.
Bendtner never received a considerable amount of abuse because he wasn’t in the
spotlight as much, in my opinion. Unfortunately Olivier is in the spotlight as
he’s the only option we have, and he’s missing big chances in big games which
is only fuelling fans frustration as the season draws to a close.
So far so good? Needs help?
I have never seen the harm in giving a player a second chance if they
want to make it work for themselves. It has worked with Tevez at Man City,
bridges that were once burnt have now been rebuilt an all is fine and dandy
when he’s in the team creating chances and scoring the odd screamer. I would
have no objection, as a fan, to giving Bendtner another chance to prove himself
at Arsenal again and he hasn’t yet refused a return to North London:
”It’s difficult – I feel a lot
of things for Arsenal, most good things. I left, not on bad terms but not on
great terms,” Bendtner told Sky Sports.
Not only has Bendtner not ruled out a return, neither has Arsene Wenger.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror in September 2012 Arsene was quoted
saying the following things about Bendtner –
“I am convinced that at a team like
Juventus, in a very difficult league, especially for strikers, he can make the
final leap in quality.
“Don’t forget, he is a boy of 24
years. The right age to prove who he is.
“The talent is not missing; otherwise
I would not have bought him from Copenhagen when he was just 16.”
We should also consider his international record which proudly shows 22
goals in 55 matched for Denmark. A goal ratio of 0.4 at international level is
up there with the very best and he has scored many crucial goals taking his
country to the last 2 major tournaments. However he has been asked to take a
break from playing for Denmark for 6 months following his drink driving band to
consider his future as an international footballer.
The Denmark Euro 2012 celebration that got him in
Putting all this evidence together and inserting my own opinion into the
matter, I think Bendtner is due to return to Arsenal. He’s an enigma for sure,
and there are attitude problems which need to be eradicated from his game
pronto. In my honest opinion though, I think he’s equally as capable as Giroud
is, and can be called upon especially when forwards receive injuries and the
team has to be rotated. Fans often complain about lack of rotation and/or lack
of options. Well we had one and decided to loan him out. To me having someone
who’s scored 10 or more goals in a season twice in his career is a worthy
option to when you’re so thin on the ground in the forward position. Let’s face
it he even maanaged 8 golas and 5 assists in 28 games for a struggling Sunderland
side last season. I think Giroud is a good option, but he should not be THE
option. Nicklas Bendtner isn’t going necessarily about to turn us into title
contenders, and he probably won’t score in a cup final either, but I’d see it
as win-win situation for Bendtner to return in terms of squad depth and
competition for places. If we get Stefan Jovetic, then it’ll be hard for
Bendtner to return and make a huge impact, but with Arsene’s reluctance to
spend big, is there any harm in doing so?
Thank you for reading!