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Wenger has faith in Bendtner
Published : 06 Apr 2010 08:07:59
Arsene Wenger feels Nicklas Bendtner can give his injury-hit Arsenal side "something different" as they look to pull off a shock victory over Champions League holders Barcelona at the Nou Camp tonight.
Wenger openly admits the Gunners are lucky to still have a chance of progress to the semi-finals after they were completely dominated by the holders during the opening stages of the first leg before somehow salvaging a 2-2 draw. Barcelona's central-defensive pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique are both suspended - a tactical advantage Denmark striker Bendtner could be able to exploit.
While Bendtner - who missed a good chance with a close-range header in the first leg - is often criticised for not being clinical enough in front of goal, Wenger has every confidence in the big Dane. "He is important because he gives us something different," said the Arsenal manager.
Arsenal were already missing captain Cesc Fabregas, who suffered a cracked bone in his leg when winning the late penalty which levelled the tie, as well as centre-back William Gallas and Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin, and yesterday lost midfielder Alex Song to a knee problem.
However, Wenger maintains Bendtner, who netted a vital stoppage-time winner to beat Wolves in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, can continue his decent form after a hat-trick against Porto in the last round of the Champions League.
He added: "Bendtner has size, is good in the air, on crosses you have hope with him.
"When people told us you have no Plan B he gives us a little bit - we always want to play football, but he gives us an option in the air that we did not have without him."
Despite their injury problems, Wenger firmly believes Arsenal have what it takes to progress. "At 2-0 down in the first leg, I felt we needed a miracle, but always had hope. I know this team will never give up," Wenger said.
"The players know they escaped being out of the competition and we have a chance which we have to take.
"It is Easter and we have to resuscitate [resurrect] - that is what we want to do at the Nou Camp."