Out of shape and without a match for a very long time, Nicklas Bendtner shouldn’t have looked so comfortable on the pitch, looking dominant in the air like nothing has changed. In a match that was mostly about giving very young players a chance to shine, there’s still hope for the Danish striker, who is a lot more important to Arsene Wenger than he should be.
But the situation is that Arsenal don’t have a substitute striker at the moment from Olivier Giroud, making Bendtner, a player no one seemed to want after his disastrous spell with Juventus, vital for Arsene Wenger, who needs a backup and someone to play when it’s a good opportunity to rest Giroud and Walcott.
As expected, the best players for Arsenal were those used to playing for the senior team, as their match against West Brom dragged on to penalty kicks after 1-1 in the first 120 minutes. Per Mertesacker was probably the best of the bunch, and next to him, Thomas Vermaelen and Carl Jenkinson provided much needed confidence and clamness to a side that looked anythhing but from the midfield onward.
It was also a chance for Mikel Arteta to make up for lost time, but he looked bad due to the confusion around him. It didn’t seem like any of the youngsters were practically comfortable with getting a rare start, resulting in terrible passing accuracy, turnovers and a general sense of confusion.
Serge Gnabry has already made a league appearance for Arsenal, but his performance was one he’d like to forget, losing the ball in almost every dribble he tried to make, and get beaten by every defender he tried to take. The problem was he didn’t seem to learn from each mistake, and kept on ignoring the path of simple football, which included passing to his own teammates.
Ryo Miyaichi is one of the more lauded youngsters on this side, but the Japanese winger, playing on his left and favorite side this time, showed pace and nothing else. It’s hard to remember a single pass of his that went in the right direction, in a match that could have helped him seize a more important part in Arsenal’s season.
Another disappointment was Thomas Eisfeld, who did score the goal off a Bendtner assist, but was out of the match apart from that moment in the second half, failing to be the one who connects the team’s parts, looking disjointed all match long.
For Arsenal, the win was important, because it provides at least one more match as a platform to give their young players a chance, which is something Wenger is very proud to do. With a short squad at the moment due to the injured or the out-of-form, every moment he can give his key players to rest up is a vital one, as it seems that Arsenal have an excellent shot of staying a lot longer than usual in the title race this season, hoping the injury bug doesn’t derail another season for them.