Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bendtner: Hard Done By?

It will be hard to banish the memory of last season's troubles, but some of the men who played a starring role in the collapse look to be on the way out.

Eboue will leave us with the memory of that foul, Bendtner with the memory of that miss. Almunia will leave us with a scrapbook of calamitous moments.

But Bendtner's apparent status as dead wood seems a little unfair. His constant self-promotion does invite ridicule, because he is often clumsy and wasteful and does not deserve the lavish praise he gives himself.

But more than anyone else in the last couple of seasons, he has given Arsenal a different dimension in attack. He has also- and this cannot be said of many Arsenal players- never hidden, and did a lot to give Arsenal a chance in 09/10, scoring some important goals.

Chamakh started exceptionally, but as it stands now, who would you back to score an important goal for Arsenal in a big game? Chamakh is an amazingly shot-shy striker- a practical parody of the perception that Arsenal "always try to walk it in". He may be a better team player and is as strong in the air as Bendtner but he is less of a goal threat overall and has not as yet looked comfortable in an Arsenal shirt.

The great contrast between Bendtner and Chamakh is that one has a cocksure arrogance and the other looks to be full of self-doubt. Neither of them are world class strikers but when the chips are down you'd rather have a man who believes in his own greatness than one who is all-too-aware of his own limitations.

Bendtner has been scapegoated for many things- his inadvertent block of Fabregas's shot against Liverpool in that Champions League tie will live long in the memory- but at the end of the day, it's not his fault that Arsenal are chokers. In fact, he's less a choker than many of the other more lauded members of the squad.

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