I enjoy giving young Gooner writers a platform, if they have a good idea and can write too, so a warm 1ND2OU welcome to William Sparks. A confident 17 year Arsenal fan from Glasgow hoping to come to London to be closer to his beloved Arsenal when he goes to University Known to many of you on twitter as @LittleWillAFC today Will has written a thought provoking piece on the self proclaimed ‘Great Dane,’ the one and only NB52…..
It was a cold wintery afternoon at The Emirates, and the game between fierce north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham was deadlocked at 81 minutes into the game. Arsene Wenger, not renowned for his bold substitutions began to prepare one. The substitutes name was Nicklas Bendtner, an 18 year old Danish centre-forward purchased from Copenhagen in 2004. He made his way on to field, strode in to the box, leaped above Teemu Tainio like a salmon, and the resulting winner was written into Emirates folk lore for the rest of our Arsenal supporting lives.
Now, the scene I have tried to set in the opening paragraph makes it seem like I was introducing someone who was going on to become young world player of the year, unfortunately I wasn’t. I’m introducing Nicklas Bendtner, a player who is now 25, and currently on loan at Italian champions Juventus. He’s failed to score in any of the 9 games he’s played in at present and in December his season took an almighty blow as he got injured in a Serie A game against Calgari, and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
I’ve always thought Bendtner has had a future at Arsenal, I often sense in football that fans have that certain player that they have a soft spot for, and for no particular reason either. However, apart from this weird obsession I have for the clumsy Dane, I do happen to think he’s a massively talented striker. He really started to blossom towards the end of the season in 2010, a fantastic header away at Stoke and goals in the dying seconds against Hull and Wolves respectively put Bendtner in the spotlight, showing everyone what he could do when given the responsibility, and more importantly, when under a lot of pressure. He ended up with a final tally of 12 goals for the 09/10 season, which for me is very impressive for a player who was never first choice, and very impressive for a player who was injured for three months of that season as well. Indeed he only actually started 19 games in an Arsenal shirt that season with a further 10 appearances off the bench. He also weighed in with 6 assists. Ever since the end of that season I have remained convinced that Bendtner is a valid contender to play ‘number 9’ Arsenal.
When Bendtner was a teenager, he was getting the odd ten minutes here and there, and rightly so. Robin van. Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Eduardo were three men he had to contend with at that point in time. But it’s the present in which I value his place in the Arsenal squad, when proper competition is scarce. Olivier Giroud is currently the first choice striker, and he’s a player that has divided opinion severely since his arrival. He has 17 goals and 10 assists in all competitions already. Most football fans I feel would look at those numbers and think they’re incredibly decent, considering it’s his first season in the division. But although his statistics are impressive, I’m one of many who sees Giroud as a very limited player…but why should he get a kicking from the fans if he’s all that we’ve got? When Bendtner was in the squad, he would get the odd start and often a substitute appearance because he was playing alongside strikers that were far better than him and provided much more for the team. Bendtner never received a considerable amount of abuse because he wasn’t in the spotlight as much, in my opinion. Unfortunately Olivier is in the spotlight as he’s the only option we have, and he’s missing big chances in big games which is only fueling fans frustration as the season draws to a close.
I have never seen the harm in giving a player a second chance if they want to make it work for themselves. It has worked with Tevez at Man City, bridges that were once burnt have now been rebuilt an all is fine and dandy when he’s in the team creating chances and scoring the odd screamer. I would have no objection, as a fan, to giving Bendtner another chance to prove himself at Arsenal again and he hasn’t yet refused a return to North London:
“It’s difficult – I feel a lot of things for Arsenal, most good things. I left, not on bad terms but not on great terms,” Bendtner told Sky Sports.
Not only has Bendtner not ruled out a return, neither has Arsene Wenger. In an interview with The Daily Mirror in September 2012 Arsene was quoted saying the following things about Bendtner –
“I am convinced that at a team like Juventus, in a very difficult league, especially for strikers, he can make the final leap in quality.
“Don’t forget, he is a boy of 24 years. The right age to prove who he is.
“The talent is not missing; otherwise I would not have bought him from Copenhagen when he was just 16.”
We should also consider his international record which proudly shows 22 goals in 55 matched for Denmark. A goal ratio of 0.4 at international level is up there with the very best and he has scored many crucial goals taking his country to the last 2 major tournaments. However he has been asked to take a break from playing for Denmark for 6 months following his drink driving band to consider his future as an international footballer.
Putting all this evidence together and inserting my own opinion into the matter, I think Bendtner is due to return to Arsenal. He’s an enigma for sure, and there are attitude problems which need to be eradicated from his game pronto. In my honest opinion though, I think he’s equally as capable as Giroud is, and can be called upon especially when forwards receive injuries and the team has to be rotated. Fans often complain about lack of rotation and/or lack of options. Well we had one and decided to loan him out. To me having someone who’s scored 10 or more goals in a season twice in his career is a worthy option to when you’re so thin on the ground in the forward position. Let’s face it he even maanaged 8 golas and 5 assists in 28 games for a struggling Sunderland side last season. I think Giroud is a good option, but he should not be THE option. Nicklas Bendtner isn’t going necessarily about to turn us into title contenders, and he probably won’t score in a cup final either, but I’d see it as win-win situation for Bendtner to return in terms of squad depth and competition for places. If we get Stefan Jovetic, then it’ll be hard for Bendtner to return and make a huge impact, but with Arsene’s reluctance to spend big, is there any harm in doing so?
Follow me on Twitter if you get the chance @LittleWillAFC and thank you for reading!
Thanks William. Top stuff and serious food for thought I feel. Like him of not NB22 does have something in his locker and could he just be strutting that stuff back in N5 in 2013/14?? Time will tell but here is a reminder of how good he can be on his day:[youtube.com/watch?v=dK3nWOIc8_c 100% 250]
Thanks to B05 Videos.
Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66