Wenger backs Bendtner + The importance of Arshavin

I’m feeling a little sick today – typical given I’ve just started my holidays – so I’m going to have to race through today’s post as quickly as possible. Apologies in advance.

Arsene Wenger has been talking about the prospects of a certain Danish striker in our squad. You know, the one that everyone loves. Anyway, the manager made some comments about him in the wake of his match-winner against Bolton, suggesting that Arsenal fans are being too impatient and expecting too much. In his own words:

“The fans judge on the game but the manager has to consider what he can display in one year. Today they wanted to see the finished article  – that is normal. But I believe in him. I think he has today scored a very important goal and it is not the first time.”

I think it’s a fair point and he’s not wrong in saying that he’s scored other important goals. Indeed, this season he’s netted vital league goals against Bolton (twice) as well as the late winner against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. Adding that to the fact that he scored important equalisers against Tottenham and Aston Villa and you can certainly see where the manager is coming from.

It’s become pretty well known that Bendtner was booed by the home fans after a couple of incomplete passes on the weekend, which is hugely disappointing. I know he’s a player that polarises opinion but his knack for the important goal combined with the fact that he’s still only 20 means there will be plenty more to come. Supporters point at a lack of effort being a downside to his game but in my opinion that’s just the way he carries himself on the pitch and I’ve never noticed any sizeable difference in effort between Bendtner and our other strikers.

For me Bendtner is an awkward-looking striker who is coming along nicely. Last season he netted 9 goals in 40 appearances for Arsenal while this season he’s already got 7 in 24. If he can keep that up then it’s likely he could contribute somewhere around 15 goals to the team, a very decent tally for a fourth-choice striker.

Moving on and Arsene Wenger has also made some comments about the state of the game in England, suggesting not for the first time that most teams are playing far more defensively than when he began managing in the mid-late 90s. He said:

“You go back 10 years and everybody played a strict 4-4-2. This year I cannot remember any team coming here with two strikers, except Hull who played like that just at the start, but slowly they came back and became like the other teams. The leading clubs have all struggled with that, even Manchester United, with all their offensive force.”

It is a bit sad to see teams like Bolton sitting back the way they do but as Wenger says earlier on in the piece, it’s also completely understandable. Most clubs just don’t have the finances or personnel to challenge the clubs in the big four and as a result they’ve had to become more and more defensive to increase their chances of winning the game. It’s completely at odds with Wenger’s romantic, idealistic vision for the game but the less goals scored in the match the more likely the smaller sides will get a result.

I think in our current situation we’re lacking the cutting edge to open up sides like Bolton like we used to simply because guys like Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo are not yet available. As a result the only way that can change for this season is if someone like Andrei Arshavin is brought in to fill the gap and spice up our attacking options. Let’s hope that move eventuates.

And that’s all for today. Just before I go you might have noticed the ‘Add me to Facebook’ or ‘Follow me on Twitter’ buttons I added to the front page recently. If you’re a user of either Facebook or Twitter and you feel like getting in touch then that’s the way to go about it. I look forward to stalking you in the future.

Have a wonderful Tuesday. Adios!

Have your say on Nicklas Bendtner or the state of the game by leaving a comment.

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28 Responses to “Wenger backs Bendtner + The importance of Arshavin”

  1. MoMONEY
    January 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Hey SF I noticed on the untoldarsenal site that the author posted a copyright and is not happy about his posts being used elsewhere… maybe you should delete them when they are posted here? Just mentioning what i noticed…

  2. pacificworld
    January 13, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    Dealing with the Russians is not easy. The Italian Serie A teams that signed players from Russia and other Eastern Bloc countries say so. So we have to hope for the best that we get Arshavin. I think he will be a great addition to us. He is certainly at least a class above Palvyuchenko over at Spurs. Hiddink thinks he is good and that is some praise. Anyway I like to know how come we appointed an American to deal with player aspects including transfers? When one applies for a job one needs to have the relevant experience and qualifications amongst others. The American (Gazidis or somewhere close, forgive me) does not have the obvious experience, so what’s up with this appointment? There should be more transparency at the higher levels. Frankly after all this time, is he (appointment) the best we could get? What does he know about English / European or African/South American or indeed Asian football in order for us to ensure (Arsene listed and DDein used to get them) the necesary signings. This country is in shambles, we reward those who fail, we promote the incompetent, the blind lead us and the unqualified get the positions and the commmon masses pay (tickets, satelitte TV, jerseys, etc in this case). To say that it is because of Kroenke is too simplistic an answer. The other English (heaven help us if they carry on…) have more stakes in the club now don’t they, so couldn’t they overrule? Afterall, if they looked down as they certainly did on foreign investment then an American?? C’mon now, lets have proper answers. Arsenal Board listen carefully, Arsenal fans are not like most other clubs, we are thinking fans and we will challenge you if you choose not to inform us of what is happening. We have the right to know.

  3. Johno
    January 13, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    Pacificworld,

    Check your facts before going into print, Ivan Gazidis is a South African National.

  4. Fatboy
    January 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    @ Spanish:-

    A spirited defence of the Dodgy Dane! Fair play, that record of 7 in 24 doesn’t look bad in the grand scheme of things. I just look around at the other 3 members of the top 4 club and ask if a player of Bendtner’s ability would be given house room and I just don’t think he would. I can’t deny that his arrogance, and what I percieve as over-confidence annoys the hell out of me. Perhaps it’s an English thing- we traditionally like to see a bit of humility, and when you hear Cesc speak he talks exclusively about the importance of the team. I don’t mind arrogance from people like Ronaldo or Henry because they’ve actually achieved something. Wenger is keen to back Bendtner, but then you wouldn’t expect anything else would you? Maybe with Eduardo back fit, it’ll become less of an issue. As I said yesterday, Nik did a great job on Saturday coming off the bench. Regarding the importance of Arshavin- I agree that we desperately need someone who can make things happen against negative teams like Bolton who come to the Emirates and park the bus. I think Nasri will become a player who could do this, but he’s still adjusting to the rigours of the Premiership. Arshavin will be new to the league too, but he’ll be coming from a league that’s predominantly physical.

  5. MoMONEY
    January 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    Why are the British always so reluctant to give any foreigner any credit? “He is American” is hardly enough of a reason to not believe in him… Im sure he is qualified and he has plenty of experience as an executive… Hell making money from a horrible end product like MLS has to be impressive…

  6. MoMONEY
    January 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    New Names being thrown around

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/698/lazio/2009/01/13/1058390/arsenal-keen-on-serie-a-defensive-duo-reports

  7. Filipino Dan
    January 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    Bendtner gives us the long ball option late on in a game. He’s a big lad who can header a ball and isn’t short of the one thing a striker simply must posses – confidence. He’s not a bad option to have and it has worked well so far. But I don’t ever see him as a first choice player, especially if Arshavin comes in (as he can play as a second striker).

    Anyway, thanks to the likes of Nik, we are inundated with strike options whereas other areas of the squad are looking very thin, so that’s another positive.

    I’d still place Vela in front of him (as a starting option) but that
    is an opinion Le Boss does not seem to share.

  8. C-Bass
    January 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    Whoa, let’s give Ivan Gazidis the full January window and this summer before we start judging him. He’s done a solid job with MLS. This isn’t the first target we’ve had drag on forever.

  9. Valenciangunner
    January 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    Bendtner!! I thought he was a waste of a good shirt before he missed 4 one on ones with Burnleys ‘keeper.Fatboy sums it up well about his misplaced arrogance.Don’t forget he missed a really good opportunity with his head just after he came on and made a complete hash of a chance shortly before he got the goal.That’s it though – he got the goal!Delighted we got the 3 points – just wish someone else had hit the net.I come close to “worship” over AW and cannot imagine Arsenal without him , I just can’t understand his perseverance with the knobhead Dane.

  10. hartwick89
    January 13, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Rubbish pacifico; To single out Americans as you say is just poor choice in explaining your point..I’m American. Rather, incompetence would be a better choice for explanation. Anyway, let Gazidas be judged after he has worked for the club at least 6 mos. not 13 days! Point is in the summer Samir Nasri was supposed to sign within hours of transfer window….but, because the media got involved it took some time. When the window closes this January and Arshavin is not #13 than complain…Be patient a few signings will be coming our way including Arshavin. If not it’s not because AW did not try it’s because the Russians are difficult.

  11. Filipino Dan
    January 14, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    @ valenciangunner

    believe me I’m not a Bendtner fan, I just feel he can perform a role for us – not a starring role mind you, but the odd cameo which may prove to be worthwhile.

    He may have missed two chances before scoring on Sat but that isn’t bad for a striker – Ade misses his fair share. It’s the fact that in the league alone he only has 2 goals to show for 764 mins of football. That’s simply not good enough. That’s why I’m happy for him to be there, but unless he shows some massive signs of improvement, only to give us the long ball option against those teams that park the bus in their goalmouth for 95 mins.

  12. Fatboy
    January 14, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    @Filipino Dan:

    About Bendtner giving us a long ball option: are you saying that you think he’s better in the air than Ade? Firstly, Arsene would never countenance us punting the ball long, unless we were a goal down with less than a minute to go. Evren given this scenario, I’d rather see Ade competing with a centre back than Bendtner. I’ve only seen a snippet of Jay Simpson, and I know he’s now out on loan, but he looked a match for Nik in the air and a lot more assured with the ball at his feet.

  13. Filipino Dan
    January 14, 2009 at 3:27 am #

    Of course he’s not better than Ade!

    I don’t even like the Bendtner as a player, but if you’re playing a tight game against ultra-defensive sides and you need to try something different (whether or not Ade plays) it can be worth throwing on a powerful lad like Bendtner as a different approach. I would suspect that many of his goals have come in such a situation. I remember being at the Emirates for Spurs at home last season and he came on and scored the winner (from a set piece) with his first touch.

    He’s an option we can use when we need a change, that’s all (admittedly I’d rather not have to use him or watch Arsenal play the long ball but gone are the days of the invincibles. It’s now about winnig games no matter what and securing fourth place).

    I’m just saying I wouldn’t kick him out right now, even though he is slowing the progress of Vela, who in my opinion has the potential to be twice the player Bentner or Ade is.

  14. TayGoon
    January 14, 2009 at 4:07 am #

    Filipino Dan;

    I personally think Vela’s progress is not being slowed by Bendtner, rather than AW’s carefull approach into intergrating new players in the squad. Just like Eduardo last season, we should start seeing more of Vela now(jan) than before. I guess he will have a lot of playtime on the left rather than the middle with Nasri moving central. Bendtner has been played for the most part because in a team lacking cofidence, he is one player with tons of it. Plus he has been effective. You don’t wan’t to kill Vela’s confidence before his Arsenal carreer is even 3 months old. I remember it almost happened with Eduardo early last season when fans started crying that Eduardo has been a waste of money and a “typical arsenal’s number 9” refering to the “beast”

    Another thing I would like readers to think about when considering Arshavin signing (he is good) is that Arshavin as a striker means with AW prefering atleast 1 physical striker in the side, RVP and Eduardo may have to make way for him to play, as a CMF I don’t see him replacing Cesc, and playing 2 AMs at once is what people have been siting as a reason to hate Denilson. He can play behind a lone striker, but that will also mean RVP gets the bench and Nasri too(who is likely to lose the LM to Vela). I have a feeling that when Eduardo is fully fit and at his best, he will be played at LM at times, and I wouldn’t want not to have Theo on the right. In my oppinion Nasri can do a much better job to fill in for Cesc and can make us more incissive against a sturbon and well organised back 4 than even Cesc can because he can dribble and pass instead of just passing which is Cesc speciallty.

    You can never be offside withouth passing. This renders the offside trap irrelevant and defenses have to adopt a plan D.

    In a nutshell, we have cover for Cesc in Nasri, we have a better option on the left wing in Vela, and with Vela providing crosses on the left, finally we can utilize Ade’s and Bendtner’s heading abilities and still have 2 slick and slimey striker(s) in RVP or Eduardo and Nasri. I would prefer to play Eduardo and RVP as our strike pertnership as I hate crosses/balls in the air and I would prefer incissive short passing and dribling to get through defenses. We can all agree that long balls and crosses can do little against a well organised defence.

  15. Kin
    January 14, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    pacificworld,
    Chill man!Gazidis isn`t American,was born South African,studied in England (Oxford me thinks!)! But what difference does it make even if he is American and was brought in from the MLS??Everyone seems to think he did a fair enough job there. By the way Wenger joined from Grampus 8 in Japan!!

  16. Radads RSA
    January 14, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    @Taygoon,1st of all, Im not a Bendtner Fan, evn thou my Dogs are both Danes (Joke).But I see a good future in him, he could become the likes of Nistelroy or Ibrahimovc or evn like”Drogba last season”.The guy will be evn better coz I could notice the way he dribbles and shoot the ball.And with all his statistics, which I didnt expect,I think he is formidable@ his age.Everybody would have even judged Bendtner differently if We didnt play badly durin the 1st half of the season.And he woud have came out differntly as well,on the pitch with more confidences.But his play style doesnt really fit with the real Arsenal way of play,most of our attack are based on fast and good run plays joined by passes, while Bendtner’s best is set-pieces for now.I just dont think that he is the right guy to take over Ade’s or RVP’s job at the moment.But we dont know what the future has got ahead for us, time will tell!!!he is only 20,he can always change his play style,The guy could become anyone from worse to best, so lets just watch.
    About Nasri covering Cesc is absolutely true, He can do it, and Im pretty sure that AW will start to play him on that position from now on,as he already mentionned.And I also see Vela now taking over the LW permanently,this will dfntly happen.But to rely on Rosicky this season is far away from my hope, even Eduardo wont be fully reliable this season for me,so my point of view will be always focused on who could be reliable in terms of fitness??as our season has already started very badly.If they will be fully fit, then praise God!!but from my knowledge of players recovery,I wouldnt be so optimistic.
    Sagna-Toure-Djourou-Clichy
    ——–Deni——–
    Eboue—Nasri——Vela
    ——-RVP-Ade
    I hope this will work out till Walcott and Fab are fit, and hopefully Arsha comes in.But in that case we’re gonna have an overcrowded mdfld pbm and a golden bench.
    I strongly beleive that this is the time where Vela is really gonna show us what is he capable of, after some more time-play being on the startin 11.

  17. Ronaldo7
    January 14, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    Bendner is a average player…will only ever be a average player.

    HOWEVER,

    He is a good option off the bench. He is a willing runner in the box when good crosses are put in. So he has the ability to get late goals. Other then that his football is quite average.

    If a team wants to be a top 4 club. Then starting Bendner wont get you there. His a mid table starter. Or a Bench player.

    Sorry spanish this is one thing we will have to agree to disagree with.

  18. Ice Baba
    January 14, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Pple,Nik is a time and chance player ie a country class player for now not a world class. If u ask me I will say loan him to a mid table club where he will be allowed week-in-week-out playing time to beef up. His age is an asset to the club. For that reason lets not sell him so that we might not regret later.

  19. Darragh
    January 14, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    I retain hope for Bendtner. To be honest, I prefer him to Ade. If he had the amount of chances Ade has had you’d see a higher goal to game ratio than Adebayor. Adebayor has been fairly poor all season considering the amount of clear cut opportunities he has missed.

  20. Darragh
    January 14, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Also, I’m sure everyone has noticed how much better Arsenal have played when Nasri plays centrally, usually during the late stage of the game. Did you see the sublime ball he put through to Adebayor late in the game against Bolton? A fabregas like pass if I ever saw one.

  21. Luxinbrasil
    January 14, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Maybe im way off the mark but how much have Nasri and Fab played together….their injuries have seemed to keep them apart,….imagine what they could do on the park with Arshavin as well!!…….sorry had a few beers and am dreaming i think!

  22. Spanish Fry
    January 14, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    @ Lux – Keep having beers. Don’t stop for any reason. Still extremely jealous of you over there having the time of your life.

    *sigh*

  23. ramugunner
    January 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    Half of the Janaury is gone, not a single player has arrived yet. It looks like Arshavin deal might never finalise because Zenit are too expensive and we are cheap. I am positive though since Arshavin is keen to join us. He already talked about jersey problem when he gets here and our style of play. In absence of Cesc, Rosiscky and Walcott, creativity and pace has been appaling in recent matches. Given that two of the most creative players in our team: Persie and Nasri are both injury-prones, we might find ourselves in deep trouble. Let’s hope Wenger is serious in the market.

    I looked at last season’s premier league table and found that we have 14 points less than last season after as many games. Also, last year we had players performing above expectation; some of them outstanding. We had Flamini, Cesc, Hleb, Sagna, Clichy. This season I can’t name one. If there is one, Please help me. It’s a miracle that we are still just 8 points behind Scousers.

    I don’t know why I am afraid of Astonvilla threat. They are a decent side with few good players and their form & confidence is making them stronger every game. Since they have 3 points more than us with better goal difference they are in good position. If we don’t sign 2 players in this month, Wenger will regret come May.

  24. ramugunner
    January 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    Few Questions for Everyone:

    1. How many players Wenger will buy this Janaury?

    2. Will Arsene ever win Champions League?

    3. Who is Arsenal’s best performer this season?

  25. ramugunner
    January 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    My answers:

    1. Two
    2. Yes, this season.
    3. Toss-up between Eboue, Diaby and Almunia.

    Like Spanishfry says, I am trying to be positive.

  26. Darragh
    January 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    I think Nasri is the best performer so far this season, followed by Van Persie

  27. Daniel Mututwa
    January 14, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

    i think we have a real problem, with all this injuries and the prospects that AW will not be willing to spend as much means we are really in a fix.
    Aston are now growing in confidence every day and winning matches, we can only manage to squeeze through and at the last minutes.
    without urgent attention the last big four tag will be lost.
    AW should do something, really; nowadays am scared of watching Arsenal matches.

  28. Daniel Mututwa
    January 14, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    the return of Rosicky will be good. hope that his recovery is quick.he is a very good player, as is Van Persie and Cesc.and iam wondering why our players are getting injured in great numbers.
    i am just wondering, not putting any blame on anyone.

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