I haven't written a great deal of late so I have missed all the bits and pieces that have been flying around over the last week or so. The appointment of new head of youth development Andries Jonker, Arsene and Per set for new deals, Sagna potentially seeking pastures new amongst other things.
Arsene Wenger has also praised his goalkeeper for his consistency this season and deservedly so. Since Szczesny regained his place in the side he has really stepped up his game. The natural assumption is to point towards the dropping before the Bayern Munich match and assume he raised his game due to that and that of course is plausible but what is sometimes overlooked is his age.
Arsene Wenger has said on a number of occasions that players careers only really start from the age of 23 give or take a year or so.
Ever since Wojciech Szczesny took over the gloves at Old Trafford those years ago he has produced a mixture of spectacular saves along with moments of madness.
As early as this summer we had a number of Gooners demanding we sign a new keeper to replace Szczesny as first choice because 'he is just not good enough yet' or that he needs to be a back up to a quality keeper. Szczesny turned 23 in April which in goalkeeping terms, is very young. We are now seeing the consistency that comes with natural progression. Football fans often tend to pay little mind to intangibles like upturn. Views are often formed on a players last game but the reality is that age, recent injury and momentum are all very important factors for pretty much every single footballer in the game.
It is the age of our core players that excite me because of that aforementioned upturn. The maturity of Wojciech Szczesny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott compared to a few years ago is no accident. I am sure Arsene wants these players to play and grow together and the results on the pitch have been clear for all to see.
It wouldn't be difficult to reel off a list of players that have received their fair share of stick for 'not being good enough' in recent history.
Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Oliver Giroud, Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and now Carl Jenkinson have all suffered from the wrath of our support. But those players played games and turned it around. I am convinced that Jenkinson will do the same when (you've guessed it) he has had a run of games in the team.
This has made me think about our striking position and one player in particular. Nicklas Bendtner.
When his name is mentioned it is usually followed by a chuckle or a wince. His off field antics have grabbed unfavourable headlines, whether it be smashing car windows with Lee Cattermole, kicking down doors to his own house, Getting fined for wearing sponsored under pants or whatever, Nicklas Bendtner is seen as somewhat of a joke and liability.
When was the last time you heard his name mentioned without the word ego accompanied with it? No, not on Arsenal.com, that is cheating.
This perception of his character has masked the strengths that Nicklas Bendtner has in his game. Yes he undoubtedly has flaws but I think he is a player who has plenty to give once his head is on right.
I must stress that Nicklas Bendtner wouldn't be my choice centre forward at Arsenal. On footballing ability he is no Luis Suarez for example but we are talking about an international footballer who is thought of rather highly in Denmark. 24 goals in 56 appearances for his country is nothing to be sniffed at.
Going back to some of my examples above and the perception of those players. Per Mertesacker was too slow, too lumbering and not Gary Cahill enough for Arsenal football club. A few seasons later and he is right up there for the Arsenal player of the season. I need not tell you about the ridiculous stick that young Aaron Ramsey had to endure, this season he was the star man in a team that included Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla as well as others. What was the biggest contributory factor to these players improving so much? Playing football. Simple.
Nicklas Bendtner hasn't strung two games together yet. In fact probably hasn't done so for an awful long time now. Remember how Jack Wilshere was playing a few weeks ago? Look at his performances now, different story. Surely the same would apply to Bendtner.
Who is to say that Nicklas Bendtner wouldn't become a key contributor if he was to come in for an injured Oliver Giroud? Why are we so certain that he wouldn't score goals and do well for the team? I do know that he was showing potential when he came on against Manchester City and his one PL start at home to Hull.
I actually believe that Bendtner is a better goal scorer than Giroud but lacks in the link up play that is so vital for this team. I do remember his through passing being of a decent standard. His assist for Eisfeld is a good example of that against West Brom this season.
I was highly critical of Bendtner after the league cup match against Chelsea at the Emirates earlier in the season, he looked as if he wasn't committed to play that game and if that is the case from now until he leaves the club then yes he shouldn't be an option. Since then Arsene Wenger has praised the players fight and attitude in training. When he has come on or come into the side since then, he has looked committed and focused.
I still think Bendtner will move on in the summer and we are still keeping an eye out for a striker that fits the bill, whatever bill Arsene wants, but if we don't manage to find one this January then I don't think our title challenge will explode on February 1st.
Who knows, if we did go on to win the title then maybe Sir Nicklas of Bendtner will have played a big part in that during this run in. We'll see.
'till the next time.