First appearance in two years for Arsenal
The Gunners snapped up a talented youngster from the youth academy of FC Copenhagen. After making only three League Cup appearances in his first season with the club, the Gunners offered him a chance to continue his footballing education at Birmingham City, where he scored 13 goals in 42 appearances.
On his return to the club in 2007, Bendtner found himself on the fringes. He was way down the pecking order in attack. The Gunners had Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Eduardo da Silva, who suffered a horrific career-threatening injury in the second half of that season.
In subsequent campaigns, he featured in cup games as well as some league fixtures. However, his big break arrived in the 2009/10 campaign, when the red-hot Robin van Persie was sidelined for a lengthy spell. Bendtner hit double figures that season, as he did in the year before.
The striker was not satisfied. He was hardly playing, and was playing out of position when he was on the pitch. As a result, his relationship with the club became strained. When he managed to secure a move to Sunderland, he expressed a desire to never play for Arsenal again, per Goal.com. A permanent move failed to materialize, though, and he didn’t do any better in his second loan stint with Juventus.
After almost two years, Nicklas Bendtner played for Arsenal again this week in a League Cup tie against West Brom, and would have every reason to be pleased with his performance.
In the wake of his outing against West Brom, some feel he deserves another chance at Arsenal.
Here are a few reasons why.
Confident, cocky, egotistical and extremely proud.
These are attributes of a player that believes in his ability to the extent that he proclaimed he was one of the world’s best strikers, per the Daily Mail.
We all know how Bendtner’s career has panned out thus far, and he certainly hasn’t reached those heights he has set for himself. His performances on the pitch aren’t anywhere near the likes of Radamel Falcao or Edinson Cavani.
Despite the fact that he was linked with all the clubs in the Milky Way, Bendtner didn’t even do enough for his services to be retained at Sunderland or Juventus. Even Eintracht Frankfurt pulled the plug on him. He was odds on to make a move to Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day, but the move broke down when Arsenal couldn’t secure the services of Demba Ba.
For a player that hasn’t played regular football for a while, Bendtner understandably looked off the pace for his team. However, he put in an uncharacteristically committed performance for Arsenal.
Bendtner clashed with the post in his attempt of nod a cross, held up play, fought in the air for balls and even showed his quality when he created a neat assist for Thomas Eisfeld.
There was a moment when Serge Gnabry sent him through and he would have had a chance to make all the headlines, but he dallied too much on the ball and West Brom defender Craig Dawson made up some ground to make a vital interception.
After 120 minutes, Bendtner took the responsibility of playing Arsenal’s first penalty, which he scored. His reactions alongside his teammates when Nacho Monreal scored the match-winning penalty was priceless.
For those who don’t know, Nicklas Bendtner is currently Arsenal’s second highest goalscorer with 45 goals in 158 games. He’s behind Theo Walcott, who has amassed 69 goals in 293 games. His goal-to-game ratio at Arsenal is quite impressive, considering the fact that he’s not a first-team regular.
In every season he played for Arsenal bar his first (where he was away on loan at Birmingham), Bendtner closed in on double figures. He surpassed the mark twice with 15 goals in 2008/09 and 12 goals in 2009/10.
For a title-challenging side like Arsenal, it’s really strange to see how light they are in attack—arguably the most important position in football. After all, teams need goals to win games.
Beyond Olivier Giroud, it’s shocking to see that the Gunners don’t have any recognized out-and-out forward. Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are better suited to the wings, where they have played their best football for the team.
When Podolski and Walcott played in the central position, they clearly struggled. Both players lack the basic tools needed to succeed in that position—height, ability to hold up play, deft one-touch passing, strength to hold off defenders and aerial ability. Finishing is a good attribute to have as an attacker, but it can only get you so far.
In Bendtner, the Gunners have a big striker that would be more than a handful for opposition defenders. His aerial ability can prove to be a vital asset this season, as the Gunners showcased their aerial prowess in their recent league victory over Stoke. Bendtner will also give Giroud a run for his money.
Nicklas Bendtner may believe in his abilities more than the average footballer, but at the very least, he deserves another chance at Arsenal.
This article is also featured in Toni Okike's Arsenal blog, Gooner Daily.