Arsene Wenger reveled in Nicklas Bendtner’s successful return after a solid 120 minute run out for the striker against West Brom in the Capital One Cup which brought no fresh injury concerns.
The Gunners ran out victors after winning the penalty shoot out 3-4 with the match ending in a 1-1 stalemate at full time, with extra time bringing no further goals.
The Cup match allowed Wenger to rotate heavily with just Per Mertesacker and Serge Gnabry retaining their place in the side from the weekend, and in came a host of young talented stars as well as some returning, more experienced faces in the likes of Mikel Arteta and Nicklas Bendnter.
The Arsenal boss will check the fitness and availability of the aforementioned duo ahead of this weekend’s trip to Swansea, however they remain the only doubts with Tomas Rosicky closing on a return to action.
Wenger revealed the following team news:
We rested many players yesterday at West Brom and some others players came back like Arteta, who played 90 minutes in his first game, and Bendtner. We have to check everybody tomorrow [Friday] morning but, from last Saturday, all the players should be available.
[on Tomas Rosicky] Rosicky should be back in the training squad on Monday so he has a chance to be available for the squad on Tuesday. Saturday is too short for him. But we all love Rosicky so it’s good to have him back.
With Walcott joining fellow wingers Podolski and The Ox on the treatment table for the next couple of weeks, Wenger is short on experienced options on the flanks. The return of Rosicky will certainly be welcomed, he has the ability to play out wide if required, is a very passionate, hardworking player and his experience is invaluable for the side.
Another player who Wenger believes is passionate for all things Arsenal is Nicklas Bendtner. The ‘great’ Dane made his first start for the Gunners in two and a half years on Wednesday night, selected as the centre forward to lead the line.
The rustic looking striker did his job well, he held up the ball overall quite solidly, laid on the assist for Eisfeld with a tidy throughball and took his penalty calmly. His confidence was never in doubt but physically he looked bang out of order upon his return.
Wenger has hailed the Danish international’s hard work and has backed him to have an impact on the Arsenal squad this season.
The French manager told Arsenal Player:
He’s still an Arsenal boy. You don’t arrive at a club at the age of 15 like he did and have all these years here without having any feeling for the Club.
I think he has an honest feeling for the Club. He wanted to leave because he had some turbulence in his career. He wanted to play, you can understand that completely and I accepted it. It [the move] didn’t work and now he’s ready for a fight. He will get his chance.
I think he did very well, for a first game. You have to take your hat off to him because he has worked very hard. Physically, he is the guy who has worked the hardest of all because he came back in a very bad shape.
Credit to him, he put the effort in and he has shown last night that even [after playing] 120 minutes in his first game [back], he never had any cramp or muscle problem. He finished the game well.
It was refreshing to see a positive performance from Bendtner after a disastrous couple of seasons for the forward on and off the pitch. Sporting a gruff beard, fancy pony tail and professor spectacles after the match, he hailed the Arsenal fans for singing his name once again – he has fallen back in love with the very club that sent him packing a couple seasons back.
With Olivier Giroud being the only other fit centre forward, Bendtner’s resurgence is just in time and can provide more attacking options for Wenger, even out wide (but don’t tell the Dane). He still has plenty of developing to do but the potential is there and he’s not a bad backup striker.
What are your thoughts on Bendtner’s performance Gooners? Comment below..