The last time Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner started a Premier League match was in March 2011 against Sunderland in what would end up being a 0-0 draw. His last league goal for the Gunners was on Dec. 29, 2010 at Wigan Athletic in a 2-2 draw.
In Arsenal’s midweek clash with 12th place Hull City, manager Arsene Wenger decided to rotate the squad a bit to give some players a much-needed rest. This meant sitting his no. 1 option up top, Olivier Giroud, and giving Bendtner the nod at striker. Within two minutes, Bendtner did the seemingly impossible … he scored a goal. Set up by Carl Jenkinson, in for the injured Bacary Sagna, Bendtner met the cross outside of the six-yard box to nod in the goal.
Following his 23rd career goal for the club, Bendtner briefly looked as if he could actually lead the Gunners up top in the absence of Giroud. Unfortunately, stamina seemed to be an issue for the Dane as he constantly looked to be a half step slow on every ball fed to him for the remainder of his time on the pitch. Bendtner easily could’ve had two or three goals, but then again, so could a few other Gunners.
Transfer deadline day signing Mesut Ozil doubled the lead in the 47th minute after a cheeky through ball from Aaron Ramsey found the German, who slotted it past the Hull City keeper with ease. The remainder of the match was nothing short of pure dominance by the league leaders. Arsenal had a commanding 61 percent possession, which directly led to 20 shots, eight of which were on goal.
A win was never in doubt for the Gunners. The squad rotation was key in the last “easy” matchup the club has before the year’s end. The gamble paid off for Wenger, and he’ll hope to continue the fine form when the Gunners welcome equally-hot Everton in the weekend.