In light of Nicklas Bendtner’s hat trick against Porto this week, he becomes only the fourth Gunner to score a hat trick in any European competition.
Bendtner joins former Arsenal favourites Alan Smith, Thierry Henry, and Ray Parlour to achieve such a feat.
Bendtner has come under plenty of scrutiny over recent years for his off the field antics, his high opinion of his own abilities, and his on the field issues converting chances into goals.
Arsenal fans have been left understandably frustrated with Bendtner since his introduction to the starting XI, when Arsene Wenger brought him in at the tender age of just 20 years old.
The big Dane has played a total of 115 games for Arsenal, 58 being a starter in all competitions. Bendtner has only managed to score 24 goals in all appearances, but many Gunner fans know that that number could and really should be doubled.
Bendtner’s uncanny ability to get into great goal-scoring positions is something that Arsenal manager Wenger admires in his overall game. Wenger had so much faith in the youngster that he sold Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City during the summer and just kept Bendtner, Robin van Persie, Andrei Arshavin, and Carlos Vela as attacking options.
Arsenal fans around the world gave Bendtner a lot of criticism following his horror show against Burnley last week. However, another huge positive in a striker’s game, and especially in Bendtner’s, is his ability to forget about missed opportunities.
Amnesia amongst all top strikers is a wonderful attribute, and often these players have to quickly forget about their glaring misses (sometimes for Bendtner it could well be his second, third, or fourth attempt) and keep getting into great goal-scoring positions to finally net a goal.
4. Nicklas Bendtner vs. Porto FC, 9 March 2010: Won 5-0 UEFA Champions League Second Round
Bendtner rounded off his hat-trick heroics by slotting home a simple penalty from 12 yards out.
This hat trick could well be the easiest of the youngster's career.
However, the Danish international was once again in the right place at the right time to pounce on all three chances.
Bendtner’s European hat trick is something that several Arsenal legends over the years haven’t completed. Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp and ex-England star Ian Wright never achieved such a feat.
3. Alan Smith vs. FK Austria, 18 Sept. 1991: Won 6-1 European Cup Round One
The 1991-92 season saw Arsenal’s first entry in the European Cup in 20 years. The European dream went badly, as Arsenal was knocked out by Benfica in the second round, failing to make the lucrative second round.
Smith’s hat trick against a woeful FK Austria at Highbury remains one of the only highlights for Arsenal’s European campaign.
2. Ray Parlour vs. Werder Bremen, 23 March 2000: Won 4-2 UEFA Quarterfinal
Parlour’s second leg hat trick against Werder Bremen sent the Gunners into the UEFA Cup semifinals.
Parlour not only scored his first goal of the season in 2000, his first hat trick was also the first of his Arsenal career. Not only did he score a hat trick, he also had the audacity to set up a goal for Thierry Henry.
Parlour’s first goal was one of three memorable goals, when the redheaded midfielder smashed a long-range pile-driver that swerved into the Werder Bremen goal. On a replay, Parlour’s strike was clocked at a speedy 68 mph.
1. Thierry Henry vs. AS Roma, 27 Nov. 2002: Won 3-1 UEFA Champions League Group Stages
Thierry Henry's hat trick capped off a memorable night for the Premier League leaders Arsenal. The 3-1 Champions League win against AS Roma will be a night that will forever be etched in Arsenal fans' memories.
Following Antonio Cassano's fourth-minute goal, the Henry show began. His tremendous night started with a sixth-minute equalizer to make it 1-1, which was the score until the Frenchman added two more goals on 70 and 75 minutes.
The 70th-minute game-winner came after Henry capitalised on some lacklustre Christian Panucci defending and the speedy Frenchman pounced on a loose ball in the box. Henry got to the ball first and sent the shot to the back of the net to silence the home crowd.
Henry put the icing on the cake when he whipped in a vicious free kick from 25 yards out, giving the Roma keeper no chance.
Thierry Henry’s hat trick is the greatest European hat trick in Gunners history.