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The Two Sides of the Nicklas Bendtner Coin

Mary O'SheaSenior Writer IMarch 16, 2009

There is one at every club—the marmite player. The player that, as a fan, you either love or hate. At Arsenal, this player seems to be young Danish international striker, Nicklas Bendtner.

Week on week there seems to be discussions and heated debates between Gunners about whether Bendtner has what it takes to succeed at a top club like Arsenal.

Is he a young talent who needs to find the finishing touch to become a top striker?

Or:

Is he a young man overcome by his own arrogance, who feels he can wear pink boots without scoring 30-odd-goals a season.

Time to flick the coin on Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner.

Heads: Nicklas Bendtner is the greatest waste of a place in the first team, especially a team like Arsenal. He couldn't hit a barn door.

Can you blame sections of the Arsenal crowd getting riled when he misses opportunity after opportunity?

Arsenal needs every point they can get at the moment, and the more goals you score, the more chances you have of securing three points. The amount of opportunities Bendtner misses is inexcusable.

Tails: Is it only inexcusable because it is Bendtner?

Have Robin van Persie, Carlos Vela, and Emmanuel Eboue, among others, not missed plenty of chances in front of goal as well? It can hardly be argued that Arsenal is banging them in this season.

The much celebrated Robin van Persie has scored 15 goals in 35 appearances for Arsenal this season, while Bendtner has scored 11 goals in 37 appearances.

For a guy who can't hit a barn door, the Danish international has secured important wins for Arsenal against Dynamo Kiev, Bolton, and West Brom amongst others.

Heads: Bendtner is an extremely lazy player.

Every other game he starts, he trots around the pitch without a care in the world, and this is reflected in his lazy approach to taking shots.

Tails: If Bendtner is lazy, then I'm the Queen of Sheeba.

This young man works his socks off for the team, and while he doesn't always get the end product his work merits, he always makes a nuisance of himself.

Against Blackburn at the weekend, he had eight shots—five were on target and three off target. While none of these hit the back of the net, his work-rate was immense, linking up well with Arshavin and Walcott, while always being an outlet.

Heads: The Danish lad's arrogance is unbelievable.

He has ridiculous haircuts, wears pink football boots, and claims he should start every game for Arsenal—no matter who is fit.

This guy thinks he is God's gift to football without having proven anything on the pitch. He certainly has too much belief in his own limited ability.

Tails: Who cares about the boy's haircut—it hardly affects his football does it?

While the pink boots do leave him open to ridicule, it is hardly Bendtner's first choice of footwear.

Anyone that knows anything about advertising and contracts well tell you, if Nike tells you to jump, you ask "how high?"

Furthermore, his so called arrogance seems to have stemmed from the mass media in Britain.

The notion that he should start every game—no matter who is fit—was contrived by the media, who twisted his words from an interview he had given to the Danish media.

Is it too much to ask of Arsenal fans to make their own mind up on a player rather than believe the tabloid trash?

Finally, is it not a good thing that Bendtner has belief in his own ability? Who wants a player on the pitch that has inhibitions about his own skill level? What good is that to any team?

Football operates on confidence.

Heads: This is Bendtner's fourth year at Arsenal, and he is quite clearly not good enough for a club of this stature.

He may be a willing lad, but he doesn't have the finishing touch, and that is not something you can learn over time.

Who cares that he is only 21? If you are good enough, you are old enough. Time to get Bendtner off the Arsenal payroll.

Tails: Bendtner has improved immensely during his time at Arsenal and came back more of a team player following his spell at Birmingham.

And yes, at 21, he still has plenty time to improve. Forgive me if I am wrong, but were Zidane, Henry, Bergkamp, and Villa classed as world beaters at 21? Not everyone develops at the same pace as Cesc Fabregas or Lionel Messi.

Besides, it is not as if Bendtner is keeping other players from the first team. It is Arsene Wenger that picks him in front of Carlos Vela.

Injuries have taken their toll at Arsenal this season, and it is for this reason that Bendtner—Arsenal's fourth choice striker behind Van Persie, Adebayor, and Eduardo—has got so many games.

Maybe the young Dane isn't ready for a starting berth yet, but that is hardly enough reason to give him the boot.

He is not some £30 million striker who arrived in the summer and barely covers a blade of grass in a game; he is a £200,000 buy in the summer of 2004, who is trying to prove his worth at a big club. Surely he deserves the chance?

Let him learn from the Eduardo's, Arshavin's, and Van Persie's. Arsenal may just have a diamond in the rough on their hands.

So, there it is—the two sides of the Nicklas Bendtner coin. I have my own views on Bendtner, and I'm sure you do too, so which side does the coin land for you, or does it just stand in the middle?

Nicklas Bendtner—Heads or Tails?


Other articles in the series:

The Two Sides Of The Cristiano Ronaldo Coin

The Two Sides Of The Arsene Wenger Coin