Nicklas Bendtner came off the bench to spark the Gunners into life and score the winning goal against the Bluebirds
|MAN OF THE MATCH
Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff City
The forgotten man at Arsenal who’s CV includes a stint at Juventus. The striker who exceeds the normal chart for self-confidence ratings, Nicklas Bendtner produced the goods to help Arsenal to their first 3 points of 2014. Despite only being on the pitch for 35 minutes, Bendtner produced more than the man he replaced in Lukas Podolski. Perhaps Podolski wasn’t entirely match-sharp but that shouldn’t take away Bendtner’s wonderful performance.
The Dane has been ostracised by Gooners due to his comments in the past and his perceived lack of effort on the pitch, when given a chance. However, none of those attributes could be thrown at him yesterday. Bendtner looked hungry and demanded the ball at every opportunity. When chances in the middle didn’t come, he went wide left to try and influence play. That gave Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott more room to operate on the right.
The moment that Arsenal fans will cherish is Bendtner’s finish in the 89th minute. It was an opportunistic goal. Bacary Sagna had already did all the hard work with his goal-bound header but Bendtner did what all strikers should do, and that is to follow-up. His finish was high into the roof of the net which gave Steven Caulker no chance to save it.
In a match where Arsenal looked turgid and bereft of attacking ideas against a well-drilled Cardiff defence, Bendtner reminded everyone that perhaps he isn’t just around to run down his contract at Arsenal Football Club. A splendid reminder that ensured Manchester City is kept at bay and Arsenal remained on top of the Premier League.