Bendtner in pole position for Barca trip
Nicklas Bendtner last night hit 3 goals to put himself firmly in the frame to lead next weeks assault on Barcelona. The confident Dane scored 2 first half goals, completing his treble with a well struck second half penalty.
Bendtner is not always the North Bank’s favourite player; his languid style often comes across as a lack of effort which irks many fans. One thing you cannot question is his extraordinary self belief. This arrogance means he always wants the ball and backs himself to do something with it. Let’s not forget, it was Bendtner who assisted our solitary strikes at Brisbane Road and last week against Stoke. Not to mention the opener against Ipswich.
Now is a great chance for him to cover the lead striker role and prove he has the ability to back up the talk. For a player who gets much of his game time as a sub, or deployed wide on the right, he has a pretty good strike rate.
In truth, last night was a relatively stress free victory. Just what the doctor ordered after our last outing. The surprise inclusion of Conor Henderson in the wide left role afforded most fans their first chance to see the latest product off the London Colney conveyor belt. The 19 year old put in a solid shift, demonstrating the technique and awareness you would expect of a player taught the Wenger way. Similarly accomplished was Ignasi Miquel.
Although Miquel wasn’t tested greatly at the back, he showed a calm authority on the ball, happy to play out of the back with either foot. There was a brief heart in mouth moment when he switched off and allowed Revell a chance to notch an Orient equaliser. Concentration, as we have seen, is paramount to defenders at the top level but this will doubtless come over time.
Next in the FA Cup is a trip to Old Trafford. Most of us will have no difficulty remembering our last trip to Manchester in this tournament, a 4-0 capitulation. That day, Wenger fielded a weakened team and the ensuing defeat was seen as a psychological hammer blow to our title aspirations. This season should be different. It’s nip and tuck at the top and we’ve learnt that we have to be committed to get results. Whilst there will be some rotation, changes in the North West shouldn’t be wholesale.
Now we can focus on bigger tasks ahead, starting with Sunderland on Saturday. As Wenger said post match, the search for silverware is in our own hands.
“It just depends on us. It depends how consistent we will be with our results. That will decide the championship”
So, memories of Sunday can be put to the back of the mind as we ready ourselves for what still promises to be a huge period in our recent history.