HE’S been questioned all season, but suddenly there seems to be method in Arsene Wenger’s madness.
Despite suffering plenty of knocks along the way, Wenger has stayed loyal to his Arsenal players and you can imagine the grin on his face when Nicklas Bendtner slammed in his hat-trick goal to complete the five-goal demolition of Porto on Tuesday night.
Bendtner, in fact, is the player who typifies Arsenal’s resilience and Wenger’s faith the most. Berated by many for his wasteful performance against Burnley on Saturday, the big Dane answered his critics in fine style and is now suddenly seen as a leading man in Arsenal’s title charge.
He has his knockers but Bendtner is ideal for Arsenal. He’s strong, good in the air and gets in goalscoring positions – the perfect foil for the likes of Fabregas, Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky and Walcott, who love to pass and move around the edge of the box.
Wenger also seems to be beginning to give Theo Walcott more game time recently, and what a difference that has made.
He is very much a confidence player and playing regularly in a side such as this can only bring out the best in him.
Arsenal, however, may need a lucky draw to progress further in the Champions League, and, despite his recent comments, I don’t think Wenger will want to draw either Chelsea or Manchester United, who know how to expose them defensively.
But with key players such as Bendtner and Walcott bang in form and a run-in envied by both of their title rivals, Arsenal clearly have the momentum in the Premier League right now and you wouldn’t bet against Wenger having the last laugh and ending his five-year wait for a trophy.