Even up to today it still hurts to look back at Sunday’s match. The pride hurts knowing that we are still a distance away from our challenger in the quest for the league title. Arsenal have not had the best of results against the Top 4 in the past year or so. We have only recorded a measly 2 wins from the last 11 matches against any of the Top 4 in all competitions.
There’s obviously a lot of talk about bringing in a new striker now that RVP is out for the season. The usual names have been thrown about in the likes of Chamakh and the unsettle Huntelaar. But do we really need to dig into the transfer market in January for a new striker or is there a need to tweak the system of play?
For me, the important aspect of whether we go into the market is the performance of Nicklas Bendtner. The departure of Adebayor to Man City was suppose to open a path for the young Danish forward to claim a first team place but things have not gone that smoothly for him this season. He has been injured a lot this season and when he is fit, has more often than not been stuck out wide on the right of the front trio.
When he comes back now, he will definitely be the first name on the team sheet. If anything, the past few games showed how we miss his presence and physicality on the field. He does offer the second route that the fans crave for when the normal, free-flowing, beautiful first route does not work. He may not have scored much but he continually gets himself into good positions which tells a lot of his positional sense of play.
The bigger question is not his talent but more on whether he is able to shoulder the responsibilities of being the main forward in a championship chasing side. Growing up, Bendtner has never questioned his ability to reach the top and has been quoted recently that he wants to be the best player in the world in the next 5 years. Plus he won’t be in awe of being handed such responsibilities given that he has been the main striker for his country, Denmark, in their pursuit of a World Cup spot.
Meanwhile, the left back spot seemed to have been pushed to Armand Traore’s hands. By hook or crook, Traore now has to grab the chance given to him or face the possibility or being shipped out come end of the season. With Gibbs also potentially out for the rest of the season and Clichy not available at least for a further few matches, Traore now will need to show that he can come in a do a good job. Pace and attacking wise, he is very much in the mould of Gibbs.
Wenger somehow seem to think that defending will come naturally. Why I say so is that he continually puts offensive players in defensive roles and expect them to shine. To a certain extent, this has worked wonders in recent year. The likes of Flamini, Van Brockhorst, Gibbs and even Clichy comes to mind.
Hopefully, Traore does not buck the trend.