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How significant is Nicklas Bendtner's comeback?

There’s only one thing Arsenal fans are talking about today; the imminent return of Nicklas Bendtner.

The Danish striker has gone full circle and after nearly leaving the club this summer, there’s a good chance he could start the League Cup tie against West Brom this evening.

The appearance takes on extra significance considering Bendtner is the back up option to Arsenal’s in form front man Olivier Giroud, so the interest in how he plays is more than just about curiosity.

There have been some very high profile Arsenal comebacks in the recent past such as Thierry Henry’s return to the club on loan as well as Mathieu Flamini’s comeback at the start of this season.

He was named as a sub in the win against Stoke City last weekend, which suggests that a recent fitness camp appears to have done its job in terms of helping him shed some summer weight.

So what can Arsenal fans expect from Bendtner’s return to the Arsenal front line?

It’s important to stay realistic and bear in mind that this will be the first piece of competitive action that Bendtner has had since that loan spell with Juventus in Serie A last season.

Therefore, he’s probably going to be a little raw, his touch may be slightly off and it may take him a while to settle back into the speed and fluency of the way the Gunners normally play football.

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He’s never going to be the sort of forward who races in behind a defence, beating defenders for pace before firing the ball home so much of the play could be into his feet as he plays just in front of the back four.

He naturally offers a physical presence in attack, which means the Gunners can hit the ball long to him to hold up, as well as utilising him as a threat from a variety of dead ball set pieces.

How long he lasts for is impossible to predict because we won’t know what sort of shape he’s in until the game gets under way.

Arsene Wenger is shrewd enough to know the benefits in starting him against the option of bringing him off the bench late into the game and it will be interesting to see if he cuts a more passionate and dynamic figure in an Arsenal shirt, having been given a second chance he wouldn’t have been expecting.

What are you expecting from Bendtner this evening?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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