Date: 14th November 2008 at 10:48am
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The Villa game is possibly Nicklas Bendtners best remaining opportunity, for the time being at least, in which to put real pressure on Adebayors starting place. Though the Togolese striker is given a 50:50 chance of making it, it is still only a ‘remote` chance that he will be fit according to the club. With van Persie serving the last of his 3 match ban the way should be clear for Bendtner to lead the attack. Having been left out of the Carling Cup game midweek that would seem to be Wengers intention.

Bendtner started both the Fenerbahce and United games and on the basis that strikers are expected to score that he failed to do so may put him under some extra pressure if, as expected, he starts against Villa. There were some good points in both performances but neither was of the stuff that makes an unshakeable case for selecting him ahead of Adebayor.

Nicklas has had just about half the PL playing time of Adebayor so far this season and has only scored one goal to Ade`s five. With much less playing time in CL games he hasn`t managed to score in the CL proper while Ade has 3 to his name though both also scored in the qualifying games. Outside of this Bendtner has scored twice in the one Carling Cup game played. With so little playing time it is hard to make any real judgements but some differences emerge from the two players style so far. In terms of shots on target per minutes played they are about the same. Ade seems to pass a little quicker and with greater accuracy but Bendtner has created more attempts for others than Ade and indeed has a better assists per time played ratio too. While Ade tackles more frequently and more successfully than Nicklas.

Though both look physically similar they do play a different game. Ade uses his power more effectively though Nicklas, who isn`t 21 until January, is still behind Ade physically. Bendtner has a midfielders eye for a pass though so far this season the execution, with passes poorly weighted or timed, hasn`t quite matched the invention. The ideas are good though.

Arsene appreciates the qualities Bendtner has saying before the United game ‘I believe Nicklas is intelligent, he has strength, quality, good collective sense and is good in the air and on the ground. He is quick as well. That is plenty of qualities.’

With the team, in recent games, looking to play a five man midfield using Diaby in a floating role behind the striker to add some robustness to midfield the places for a lone striker are limited. Especially if there should be some willingness to repeat the use of van Persie in that role as he did to good effect in the early part of last season and last season`s pre-season tournaments.

Bendtner may find himself having to wait once more and relying again on injuries to get a run in the side based on his contributions so far but he appears willing to accept this.

“I always feel confident whoever I play. I’ll play to my strength and the team will play as a unit. If we all play well that should be enough but I want to do the best I can.

“If I play I’d like to score,” he said last week “If I can score and help us win the game then I’ll be very happy. If I play well and someone else scores I’ll be happy too.

“If you play well, you keep your place so you have to keep working hard.

“It’s the same for every striker, there’s no free pass at a top club.”

Assuming he starts the Villa game, in which he scored the late equaliser in last seasons corresponding fixture, it would be a good time to enhance his CV.

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