Arsenal return is Bendtner’s last chance

Blonde samurais are something of a rarity. Danish samurais even more so. Yet they both somehow coexist in Nicklas Bendtner’s latest look, which would have had Pablo Osvaldo nodding in approval.

Bendntner, one can safely assume, is not the last samurai, but tonight’s Capital One Cup match against West Brom, his first Arsenal appearance in two years, will very much be his last chance.

At only 25 years of age and entering his ninth season at the club, one would imagine Bendtner to be a pillar of Arsene Wenger’s team, the promising young striker who’s developed into a crucial figure for the club.

Unfortunately for him, the Danish international is anything but.

Having achieved notoriety for his off-field antics – which included crashing his Aston Marting, stumbling out from a night club looking rather intoxicated and with his jeans unzipped, being banned by his national team for drink-driving and, dulcis in fundo, pouring a drink over a former Miss Fitness in Denmark – Bendtner’s career has been on a downward spiral for quite sometime now.

After scoring 21 times in 63 games in all competitions in his last two full seasons at the Emirates (between 2009 and 2011) and tarnishing a rather successful campaign at Euro 2012, during which he scored twice in three games, for lowering his shorts and revealing a sponsor on his underpants, Bendtner was unceremoniously shipped out by Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal manager, who believes that “Nicklas can be an unstoppable striker,” must have been as surprised as everybody else when Italian champions Juventus decided to take the Dane on loan last season.

Ten games, zero goals and with his sales of shirts bearing his name not exactly providing a tangible income, Bendtner was told to pack his bag and board a London-bound plane amid, one would assume, very few tears shed by the Juventus supporters.

One has to wonder if after his unsuccessful spell in Italy even Bendtner, a man who clearly has an incredibly high opinion of himself, has come to accept that he might not be, in fact, as good as he thinks he is.

A more humble approach would do the Dane a world of good particularly because while he might not be the player he considers himself to be, the 25-year-old is far from being hopeless in front of goal as his 22 goals in 55 caps for Denmark abundantly testify.

Even without venturing into international football, Bendtner’s eight goals in 29 Premier League appearances on loan at Sunderland in the 2011-12 season were a decent return for the striker and one Wenger would like the Dane to reproduce this season.

Considering that the Arsenal manager had planned to offload him to Crystal Palace, had he successfully completed the signing of Demba Ba, Bendtner can consider himself extremely lucky to be playing tonight.

Granted, the Capital One Cup might not be the glamorous competition Nicklas Bendtner would be deem fit for Nicklas Bendtner but, as the saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers and the Dane has pushed himself further into the latter category in recent seasons.

“I personally believe in his qualities, and now he has the chance to convince everybody else. Fans forgive you everything as long as you produce the performances on the football pitch,” said Wenger.

Fans might indeed forgive everything to a successful player, but one feels this season is Bendtner’s last chance saloon.

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