That’s Bendtnertainment [Part 2]

Arsenal 3-1 Burnley

As I was heading to the game with my brother, crossing Highbury Fields, we saw a clown driving a car. He was in full clown regalia, including wig, make-up and huge red nose (though I assume he’d removed his oversized shoes by that stage, unless he had 2-foot wide clutch, brake and accelerator pedals as well).

At that stage, it seemed unlikely that we’d see anything more comedic before the day was out, but as it turned out we did – in the form of Nicklas Bendtner’s Incredible Goal-Missing Circus.

Now, had that kind of performance come mid-way through last season, you wouldn’t have been able to move for tuts and groans in the stands. But yesterday, the fans’ reaction to Bendtner’s afternoonus horribilus was one indication – the other I shall come to – that this season is very different from the last.

As gaping net after gaping net went unruffled, the groans (which were of amazement more than anything else) turned into chants. Bendtner merely got a rousing song. He immediately reciprocated with appreciation of his own, and was not long after subbed off to great applause.

It was just one of those days for him.

The other indication that things this year have changed in subtle ways was the immediate post-match actions of Emmanuel Eboue. He bounded over to our end of the ground on his own, leapt over the hoardings, took off his shirt and gave it to (I think) a young girl. It was a top gesture (no pun intended) and again, one that was responded to with huge applause.

Two players who had difficult seasons, now firmly back on track and enjoying what they do. How nice that is to see.

The game itself was great fun, but very Arsenal. We contrived to miss hatfuls of chances, let in a bad goal, conceded the initiative briefly when only 2-1 up and only made it secure right at the death.

The two most noteworthy performances – aside from Bendtner’s, of course – came from Nasri and Walcott. Both players have had their own critics this season, but pulled performances out the hat that threw their form out the window. Nasri was my man of the match – direct, probing and dangerous. Walcott though was not far behind, with a second half of real quality culminating in an excellent goal. It says a lot that a player who was already being airbrushed out of some people’s final 23 for the World Cup suddenly catapulted himself back into the frame in just 45 minutes. On that form, he’d make it easily; the trick now is to keep it up.

Pre-match, the banners and the songs for Ramsey were class, as expected. As for the first 45 minutes, they started well but fizzled out. The thing that struck me most for the first 30 minutes – in fact, until Diaby came on – was that there were almost no tackles of note at all. It felt like a pre-season match. Not surprising I suppose given the last 10 days, just as Walcott’s reaction to a hard but fair tackle by a Burnley player was not surprising either.

The only stain on things was of course the injury to Fabregas. We’re far from a one-man team but someone like him – head and shoulders above most of his peers – will be missed in any side, so clearly we face an anxious wait to see whether he will make Tuesday.

Anyone got any magic plasters?


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. simon

    Great post mate! Couldnt agree more!

  2. miki

    (though I assume he’d removed his oversized shoes by that stage, unless he had 2-foot wide clutch, brake and accelerator pedals as well) funny as hell man 🙂
    nice piece. I think we can win even without Cesc. My guess is that Arsh is gonna be the man!

  3. evd83

    Nasri deputize if Cesc is not fit. Samir is more than capable of playing killer passes and in possension is probably the most comfortable in the squad. We will a miss little bit of that goal scoring abillity of Csec, but with plenty of other attacking players we should beat porto 2-0 at home, if not by more. I will be saying my prayers that cesc and sol are fit. Silvestre scares against a quick porto team that is good in posseion.

  4. Sajit

    Nice post..again.RG.

    Next few days will be spent praying for Cesc.

  5. Tim

    Really great post as usual. I agree fully about Nasri, his best game in months. If Samir and Theo can come close to that form over the next 10 games we really are in with a shout.

    Bendtner to score 2 or more vs Porto? Go on!!

  6. AdrianinChina

    Nice one East Lower. Nasri has been showing signs of his old self, and this was by far his best game of the season. I was pleased the faithful did not get on Bendtners back, it would have done him no good at all, and who knows how he might help us over the next three months. Clichy too had a better game, and my how Eboue has turned it around, fair play to him, he stuck at it and against the odds is looking to be a very important player right now. Come on you gooners!

  7. Vinnie

    Don’t know why but driving home after the game I switched to talkshit, I thought that Wallymore may have something nice to say about Arsenal for a change but instead had to listen to his first caller, apparently a gooner who phoned up moaning about the fans booing Bendtner??? I was there and other than the groans when chances were missed I did not actually hear any booing, quite the opposite in fact. So the next part of the programme is Wallymore defending Nick, suggesting that he is a future 25 goal season striker, I hope he’s right but. So because of this total knobhead the programme changed to “Why do you Arsenal fans boo your players” In have to say that this time, Wallymore was actually on an Arsenal players side. I turned over soon into the show As for the idiot who phoned up, he was the programmes firt caller, if you read this site please respond.

    One thing I would say that, even though he did miss some proper chances he kept going instead of hiding and that, with him only 21 and his main supplier on Saturday being 20 it does not look to bad for the very near future. On any other day Nick would have scored at least a hatrick and Theo with the same amount of assists, no problem.

    And I made Theo Man of the Match just shading Nasri because of the added pressure he was under.

  8. DJMDT

    One thing to be said for Nicky B was that he was getting himself in some damn good positions. Missed every single opportunity he afforded himself but good to see him trying again and again to get in the right place and not attempting to hide from the ball.

    Also liked the fact that he applauded the fans for singing his song to try to keep his head up. Always great when the players acknowledge us lowly fans!

  9. marcus

    3 players who’ve underperformed lately — Nasri, Denilson, Theo — all stepped up on Saturday and played their hearts out.

    As to Bendtner…

    Nik SCORES AT AWAY GAMES, he rarely scores at home. He actually has a bit of curse at home games. A lot of that is due to the way the home crowd got on his back last season.

    Interesting how people failed to notice that he scored in his last 3 games (all away) yet suddenly dried up the minute he played AT HOME.

    Even with all his failure to score and the crowd reaction, Nik never hides and keeps trying. For that I have enormous respect for him, so unlike Adebayor.

    And it was noticeable how we lost our shape and momentum the minute he went off.

    No use comparing him to RVP, who is 26. Let’s start judging Nik when he gets to be 23.

  10. Daryl Booth

    Here is footage of the game and those flags I got on Saturday

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