• Premier League

Wenger: Bendtner faces weeks out

ESPN staff
January 2, 2014
Give Gunners credit

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that Nicklas Bendtner is "out for weeks" with an ankle injury suffered as he scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win at home to Cardiff.

Bendtner's 88th-minute strike set Arsenal on their way back to the top of the Premier League, but came at a cost as he joined Olivier Giroud in the treatment room.

"It shows that we are a bit short with strikers and while [Lukas] Podolski and [Theo] Walcott can do that, longer term we want people with that speciality," Wenger said.

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"Usually he [Bendtner] is not a fragile player - he was a bit unlucky. He said he landed on the foot of a Cardiff player and turned his ankle. Unfortunately it looks like it is not a question of days but weeks, with a sprained ankle. I am very sad for us, but for him as well.

"It doesn't mean we go straight from Nicklas' ankle straight to the transfer market. It just means that we have Giroud and Bendtner out."

Wenger paid tribute to Bendtner's battling qualities, adding: "He is a player who has gone through some difficult periods, so I just want to give him great credit.

"I told him already today that he is back to the level I want him to be at and, if he continues to develop like that, he will come back into the team.

"When you are a manager, you always feel responsible to get the maximum out of a player because you want to influence their life in a positive way. When you don't manage to do it, it is frustrating.

"On his future, it is January 1st so we cannot stop him [talking to clubs abroad] but he says he wants to stay here. If he is focused on staying with us and his job, he is a great striker."

Wenger said he felt Cardiff's spirited performance was due in part to the presence of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the man tipped to become their new manager, in the stands.

"Cardiff have the basic ingredients to survive in the Premier League," he said. "You would say if you look at their record they need to add a few more goals offensively to stay in the league.

"If he [Solskjaer] can find that in the final third, then they will stay in the league because they have the basic quality to do it."

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