Bendtner Scores But His Injury Should Not Force Transfer Hand


Arsenal 2 – 0 Cardiff City

1 – 0 Bendtner (88)
2 – 0 Walcott (90)

Frustrated for most of the afternoon, Arsenal struck twice in the dying minutes to secure the points necessary to return to the top of the Premier League. Manchester City applied the pressure with a 3 – 2 win at Swansea and with Chelsea’s win at St Mary’s, anything but a win would have seen Arsenal drop to third. Arsène has pointed to the volume of games and the problems that brings as something the club has to overcome; they did so with a win consistent with the Yuletide performances as 2013 drew to a close.

A lethargic first half with chances squandered in appalling conditions, was met with an improved tempo in the second with chances squandered in appalling conditions until Bendtner and Walcott settled matters. Victory came at a cost with Nicklas Bendtner likely to be missing for ‘weeks’ putting pressure on Olivier Giroud to recover his fitness more swiftly than might have been expected before kick-off.

Bendtner had surprisingly been left out of the starting XI as Arsène opted for Lukas Podolski instead. For whatever reasons – and a lack of match fitness combined with the conditions would not have helped – the German was ineffective, he made way for the Dane just past the hour. Combined with the arrival of Tomas Rosicky, it signalled the pressure being ratcheted up with the Cardiff goal remaining intact through a mix of luck, grit and poor finishing. Chief culprit was Per Mertesacker; two headers, getting closer each time with the first a couple of feet wide, followed by a similar effort glancing the same post which Jack Wilshere had thundered a shot against earlier.

Wilshere’s sleight of foot set Walcott free for the second and the striker deserves credit for not letting his first half missed chances prey on his mind. At the time of scoring he had reverted to his desired role of central striker. I wonder if this will be something Arsène considers for the weekend’s cup tie? He appears reluctant to use Akpom, presumably on the grounds of youth. Acknowledging that Podolski needs match time is one thing in a home game against a team struggling in the Premier League is one thing, it is an altogether different proposition for an FA Cup tie that has added spice for supporters.

The conditions made a flowing match impossible; Arsenal responded to that by digging in and working hard to create their openings. Wenger believes the attitude was the key to the result,

We have a good togetherness. The players come on with the right attitude, which makes the difference in a title race. If you don’t have that you have no chance to do it. We have to take care of that spirit and show it in every single game. They showed the resilience and intelligence not to make a mistake at the back and continued to go forward.

They were offered plenty of opportunity to go forward, Cardiff were very happy to cede possession and ultimately that strategy cost them any chance of points. There were moments, of course, Szczesny made a good save from Mutch whilst earlier in the season, Nacho Monreal would have been penalised. As it was, referees have moved in the opposite direction, reluctant to make decisions, with Arsenal denied two penalties when Jack Wilshere was clearly impeded. He and Santi Cazorla prompted and probed throughout, effervescent in their creative roles yet for all the openings, Marshall was relatively untroubled.

I am not sure Arsène will be overly concerned by that. The weather impacted on some of the finishing and Cardiff were obdurate at the back, willing to throw their bodies in the way of any shots. Equally, he was without his first choice striker; he is now without whichever choice Bendtner is. Whilst the media are already tying that to the new transfer window, the Dane’s injury cannot surely be the catalyst for action. With less than a month remaining, any targets will have been identified long ago and the club will have a clear picture on their availability.

The Dane is free to talk to others yet Arsène believes the player wants to stay at the club,

It is January 1 so we cannot stop him [talking to clubs abroad] but he says he wants to stay here. If he is focused on staying with us and his job, he is a great striker.

It would be a huge turnaround for a player who categorically stated he did not want to play for the club again, albeit some time ago. I am not sure that the manager is convinced by that or the player himself. Talk of Bendtner’s potential seems strange for a striker who is 26 in a fortnight’s time. He is surely of an age where potential must have been realised by now? A little flannel will do wonders for making a want-away player feel wanted whilst he still has a purpose to fill.

Monreal was outstanding yesterday, reliable in defence but a clever supporting asset in attack and his cross laid on the opening goal. That Bacary Sagna was the challenging player for the header indicates the intelligence the pair displayed, creating width on both flanks. It is this which, particularly in Sagna’s case, cannot be readily replaced. Carl Jenkinson will hopefully have taken on board the attacking lesson he witnessed today.

The FA Cup normally sees Arsène field a weakened side but circumstances might preclude him from following that tradition. Arsenal don’t have the choice of players for him to do that and unusually compared to the past, there is another eight-day gap until the visit to Aston Villa a week on Monday. He has a couple of days to ponder his options and who knows, a miraculous recovery or two might take place in that spell.

’til Tomorrow.

136 thoughts on “Bendtner Scores But His Injury Should Not Force Transfer Hand

  1. Then start him. He would be cup-tied so Giroud would be a sure fire starter in the CL.


    Can we really forget about him, did you think we could get Ozil?!?!??!?

  2. Adam – “Once we were believed that to be the case, why would we offer more than we had to? I think it is nonsensical that we would – just so as to not piss off Liverpool.

    My thoughts as well.

  3. @Harry

    I get what you and others have said, I just also understand that if any clause existed we are not required to offer them 5M more just for the heck of it. The clause (non I seems existed) and contract presents a business agreement, nothing more. So I would have had no issue with a 1 pound bid in excess of any release clause did it actually exist.

  4. Hopefully Sanogo and Diaby are in the same room being looked at by the finest doctors. Maybe a Dr. Frankenstein can graft their good parts together to find a fit player capable of playing both as striker and midfielder.
    But odds are they are both chin deep in horse embryo or whatever it was that RvP was soaking in before he re-discovered his health.

  5. C – No, I really didn’t. But it appeared that we were the only ones in for him. There will be a load of clubs trying to get Lewondoski. It would be great, but I can’t see it happenening.

  6. @MA

    I’m not being unfair, while they do have talent in the likes of Countinho, Gerrard, Sturridge, Lucas and Skrtel they also do lack talent. While Sterling is a nice player(as we have discussed prior) he is a player that still has a lot to prove as does Henderson and the signings that Rogers has brought in haven’t really panned out with Borini already out on loan while Aspas has looked like a player that took to big a step.

  7. He doesn’t want a top top striker. He wants a top top top quality striker.

    I never thought about the camaraderie of the team, good point Adam. Berbatov can be a bit of a such sulky bitch. And that sense of togetherness has been such an important aspect of our doing so well.

  8. @GA

    Fair enough. It will for sure be an interesting fight for the player if he doesn’t end up going to Bayern.

  9. @Pistol

    I have always maintained that I have no issue replacing any player in the team if we were to get a better qualified and in form player to replace them. My defense of Giroud has always been predicated on what the lad brings to the team not some infatuation with the player. The strengths of Giroud far out weigh any perceived negatives. He has a world class work ethic, he tracks and defends as well as any player in the team. He is our best hold up man, wins aerial duels in the 60th percentile, provides excellent link up play with the midfield and both scores and creates goals. His negatives are really that we want him to score more than he does right now. We/you want a more consistent goal scoring output. He is scoring at almost most a goal every two games which was the measurement we had previously set for a striker. 18 games played in the EPL and he has 8 goals and 5 assists. The reality is, it ain’t shabby 🙂

    Robert Lewandowski would be a great addition to Arsenal, though like others above I cannot see it happening at all.

  10. MA, I don’t know what I’m taking about at the best of times, I thought that was patently obvious 😉

    Last words on the matter (hurrah!): It seemed the evidence and legitimacy of said clause was flimsy (derived from the players agent I believe (football agents being generally behind cockroaches, and just above politicians, on the evolutionary ladder), so it’s hard to believe we were going on that alone. If we really wanted him..then just make a proper offer for one of the best players in the world. I dunno.

    We didn’t get him. So something went wrong. That much is true at least.

  11. @C

    Liverpool like any club have certainly had duffers, Arsenal have had a good few themselves 🙂

  12. @Harry

    “We didn’t get him. So something went wrong. That much is true at least.”

    Totally, I get that the whole thing was a complete an utter fiasco and someone should have had a good talking to about the bullsup.

  13. I`m not sure about Berba for the same reasons as suggested. Too many double tea-pots for my liking.

    Any team where we are should be desperate to add a striker this month & despite his poor form this season I`d go for Benteke with an early bid so Villa could use the cash when they have a chance. £20M would surely tempt them.

  14. I remain in an unconvinced spot regarding the bid for Suarez. The stories emanating from Arsenal’s interest in Suarez seem almost too juvenile to be believed. This is a multibillion pound club that is far too sophisticated to be playing with one pound offers. Their offer room must have a fleet of solicitors that are well groomed in the processes involved in making bids for players and most of all understanding contracts. I cannot help but believe that the fan base has no understanding of what really transpired on that score during the summer. Under the best of circumstances Arsenal reveals very little about their negotiations with clubs. Happy New Year to all of you.

  15. @MA

    Agreed. That Liverpool side is looking similar to how our squad looked RvCunt’s last year. A world class striker that is showing his talent for fun driving his team with a few good to very good players sprinkled around him but lacking in both talent and consistency.

  16. If Lewandowski doesn’t want to go to Bayern I suspect it is because PSG /Chelski/ManShitty or Monaco have been in contact with his agent about a ridiculous salary offer. I doubt we’d be in the game at ridiculous salary levels.

  17. I don’t think Benteke is the man we really want and 20 million spent now looks to be a poor move if we want a super, top striker in the summer.

  18. MA

    I was just giving you a friendly poke in the ribs.. Giroud has done well, but he is our only real option and he is looking jaded. I fear we will slip down the table rather fast should he get a long term injury.

  19. It really does depend on what if anything Arsene is looking for and to bring in. Is he looking for a young but semi-proven talent that he can trust and can do a job but blossom into a world beater or is he looking for a world beater that is already established?

    I think that should be the starting point as to our thoughts and potential expectations.

  20. What I’d pay for the Arsenal team in the January transfer window
    Szczesny – £20m
    Sagna – £10m
    Kos – £25m
    BFG – £25m
    Gibbs – £25m
    Arteta – £10m
    Wilshere – £30m
    Ozil – £30m
    Ramsey – £30m
    Walcott – £30m
    Giroud – £30m

  21. Harry, thorough sense the whole day. But hopefully we’ll do better than the Mata and Suarez/Higuain deals. Something to be said for confidence in the team and in the exec room now that we’ve landed Ozil.

    Sign a Pre-contract with massive sign on bonus with Lewandowski and get someone in on loan then. Why should he go to Chelsea? Given style of play, perhaps he would prefer playing for AW than Mou and ahead of Ozil than Oscar. If that is the missing piece, and I think a great striker is–we can pay 40 million and 180k/wk, so why can’t we land Lewandowski?

  22. When Suarez was out, Sturridge was banging in the goals and now that Lucas is back after a season lost, they have some strength to their midfield. Coutinho is a clever player and I rate Agger. So their squad isn’t as deep but without European games, I am not surprised they are doing well now.

    And that is why I am fully behind the position that if there is a striker who improves us available we should strengthen. It is going to be very close, I feel. Our best chance is to enhance our goal threat. Even if we don’t win, it will make sure we don’t have a CL qualifier and we can do early business in the summer with a striker who has adapted to the team/league/country (as appropriate) ready to start next season. If not now, then tie up someone available this summer like Lewandowski and bring in Berba or Hernandez as a stop gap or a loaned player.

  23. Philmar, if Ozil came to us from RM, we can pay pretty ridiculous salaries too. Sure if it becomes a bidding war, we might drop out but we are in the game. City have a wealth of strikers and aren’t looking, ditto PSG. It is Bayern, whom we can meet on salary, or Barca, RM, or Chelsea. That’s pretty much it. And some of those will be looking for Suarez or Costa. We can and should be in the mix. Time for optimism.

  24. @LSG

    You bring a great point about them not playing in Europe. Look at the clubs of recent times that have a decent starting XI but once they started playing in Europe struggled. Clubs like Swansea, Newcastle and even Spuds; once they started playing in Europe, their league form suffered and lets be honest, if we can bring in a Lewandoski or somebody of that ilk then lets do it. We can win the PL with them and then worry about both the CL and PL next term.

    Not to mention that I’m sure Suarez, Falcao(if he even hints at wanting to leave), Costa, Rooney and whatever strikers light up the World Cup will be being looked at as well.

  25. This goes to show e can grind out a win when the conditions are against us. This was huge for both Man Shitty and Chelsea cry baby Blues and cheaters won. A good win. Now we have Spurs coming up in The FA Cup. What about Man U getting the dagger to the heart at Old Trafford. A good day all around.

  26. I agree with pistol fish and cbob regarding the Suarez affair. Bidding 40M plus 1 would have pissed off any team

    I can’t believe Suarez’ agent did not understand his contract. Hopefully Suarez sacked him if he is that stupid. I have no idea where we came up with the idea that there was a release clause

  27. I also agree with pistol fish that the most likely thing to detail our title bud is a lack of firepower in front of goal. We talked this all summer and it’s still our biggest problem. Unfortunately I just don’t see us getting the really top quality scorer in January that can take us to the next level and hopefully we can continue to win ugly. Next summer we need take the plunge and spend what it takes to get that scorer we need

  28. If there is really a chance to get lewandowski then we should make a huge bid, ASAP. We could even sign him to a precontract for next summer if Dortmund isn’t willing to let him go now. We have to accept that goal scorers are always the most sought after players and there will be bidding wars.

  29. Our problem as I see it with regards strikers.

    We only play 1 striker and really he must be as good as we can afford. If we played two it would be easier to rotate 3 strikers around two spots, but rotating 2 around 1 job is much harder – unless it is Robin I only play half a season for my pursie, but even that was difficult for players like Chamakh.

    We cut the balls off those strikers who sit on the bench. That is why cover comes from the wide forwards or from youngsters in AWs squads.

    Giroud joins the castrati if they sign big.

  30. Arse in the Gamb

    “Giroud joins the castrati if they sign big.”

    Even if this is true, Is that really a problem for anyone if the person we buy improves the team?

  31. With the effort OG puts in, the number of games he’s already played, and te physical pounding he takes, we are really lucky he hasn’t missed more games to injury or gone on a longer goal drought than the 7 or 8 games before his Newcastle header.

    If we had had a fit striker AW trusts there is no way OG would have started the number of games he has. Having two good players for one position is not some tragedy to be avoided. It is an ideal situation in a squad of a big club competing for honours each season in 4 competitions.

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