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.