OK, so as there is once against precisely feck all going on – not entirely a bad thing I might add – I thought I’d turn my attention to a player who is dividing opinion amongst Arsenal fans at the moment. You guessed it; Nicklas Bendtner.
In the couple of years I’ve been writing this blog I don’t think I’ve seen as much animosity be directed at an Arsenal player by out own fans. I’ll admit that Emmanuel Adebayor has copped his fair share, as did Alex Hleb and fall-guy Philippe Senderos before their moves and of course recently-demoted captain William Gallas. But nothing has come close to the stinging criticism that Bendtner receives after almost every match he plays.
Now I will readily admit that Bendtner has been struggling a little bit of late. He missed a few clear opportunities against Burnley midweek and didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when first-choice pair Robin van Persie and Adebayor were unavailable. I can understand that his confidence bordering on arrogance and his almost smug body language – apparently fairly typical Scandinavian behaviour, I might add – can grate, but does that mean he should be written off as a player or a person? I say ‘no’.
After all, the guy is 20 years old, 6’5 and has a confidence in his own ability that many players would love to have. He acts like a world-beater on the pitch and although his skills and ability can’t back that up just yet I feel that given time that’s exactly what he’s going to be.
Once he can raise his game to match his level of confidence then I feel we’ll have a player of almost Zlatan Imbrahimovic-like quality. I’m not suggesting that he will be able to do with a football the things that Ibrahimovic can but merely indicating that I feel he has the potential to be just as effective a player.
I realise that this is a highly-conjecturable statement but in time I think it will be proven correct.
The previous criticism I’ve heard (expletives excluded) aimed at Bendtner include; he’s too slow; he has a poor first touch; he’s over-confident; he can’t finish; he’s not strong on the ball; and he’s not a team player.
But in my eyes he’s not that slow for a 6’5 player; his first touch can be excellent when he’s in form; his extreme confidence makes him a dangerous player; his strength on the ball will only improve as he is taught how to use his body; and he’s far more of team player than van Persie. I realise that these are overly-simplistic positive comparisons but in my eyes they contain some merit.
I think it’s important to remember that Arsene Wenger clearly sees something in Bendtner as a long-term player at this club. It’s the reason why he is getting so much game-time and why the manager is persisting with him so consistently. Wenger has a pretty good record with bringing through strikers and I think in time Bendtner will pay back the faith that the manager has put in him.
So as a final thought I’d encourage you to do what I’ve done and stop worrying and love the Bendtner. Dr Wenger knows what he’s doing and you’ll see that soon enough.
Anyway I’ve said enough. Let the onslaught begin!
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