Former Arsenal star hoping Sunderland can increase Gunners’ pain
On-loan Nicklas Bendtner can’t play at the Emirates, but thinks Black Cats can win without him
Nicklas Bendtner won’t be returning to haunt the Gunners on Sunday, but the on-loan striker is confident his Sunderland team-mates can do the job without him and continue Arsenal’s troubled start to the season.
Bendtner is on loan at the Stadium of Light for the season, but the terms of the deal mean that he will have to sit out the Emirates clash against his ‘parent’ club.
However, the 23-year old, who scored the goal that took Denmark to the Euro 2012 finals on Tuesday night, has been his usual outspoken self since leaving London and believes that Steve Bruce’s struggling side can inflict more pain on the Gunners this weekend.
“It’s frustrating that I won’t be facing Arsenal. It is a tough place. We know how Arsenal will play,” he said. “But we have great players here.
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“It is down to us to prove that and not just talk about it. We would rather show on the pitch that we should be on the other side of the table.
“I am sure we will prove that in the weeks to come. We are good enough and strong enough but we just need back-to-back wins.”
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Bendtner left the Emirates for the second time on a loan spell, the first having been for the 2006-7 season at Birmingham City, who were managed at the time by Bruce.
He has scored one goal in his four games so far for the Black Cats, but is adamant the loan move was his only option after starting just three Premier League games for the Gunners last season.
“It [the loan move] was an easy decision. I’d been in and out of the team a lot and never really got a run of games and that was something I felt I couldn’t do any more,” added Bendtner. “I was getting to an age where I thought ‘I need to play regularly’.”
In four full seasons with the first team, Bendtner started almost as many games on the bench (78) as he did in the starting side (79), and his bit-part role took its toll last season.
Taking that into account, his tally of 45 goals for the Gunners is hardly one to be ashamed of, but the player who was signed by Arsene Wenger and brought to Arsenal from Copenhagen at the age of just 16 is sure he can improve.
“I have said I thought in my game that I can always improve, but the thing that I missed that I needed to do was to score more goals,” he said.
“But it was difficult for me [at Arsenal] as I never really got a run of games so I didn’t have a chance to do that.
“I want to be a football player and achieve the ambitions I have and I couldn’t do that while being there so for me it was an easy decision to come here and play.
“My ambition is to play Champions League football again,” he said. “If you’ve played that then you know how highly [the competition is rated] and what it means.
“I’m not looking at that at the moment. I’m looking one year ahead and being here for one year is where my focus lies. I want to first do well here and we’ll see what happens after that.
“It’s very different from London, but you just have to learn and adapt. I have rented a good house and am probably going to spend most of my time there as I did in London, and then spend time with my family when I am not playing football so it’s going to be okay.
“It’s different but I think you should be willing to adapt everywhere you go. Obviously it’s not what I’m used to but I’m sure I will have a great time here.”
Bendtner spent much of last season living down his comment that he considered himself one of the world’s best strikers, but has since played down those remarks.
“What I said is that when a striker scores more than 20 goals a season then the papers are quick to say now he’s one of the best strikers in the world,” he said.
“One thing is for sure, that I want to play football, I do not want to do what I have been doing before. If it’s going to be the same way I would rather not go back [to Arsenal],” said Bendtner, who has not been following his former club closely since his departure.
“I’ve not really seen much of their games,” he said. “I’ve just seen the results. Apparently they were quite unlucky against Dortmund, who scored in the last minute, but I hope they will do really well and that the young players will have a great season.”