Arsenal have momentum and hapless Hammers won't stop them
Nicklas Bendtner remains Arsenal s man of the moment ahead of Saturday s derby with relegation-threatened West Ham. The ungainly Dane – dubbed Barndoor Bendtner by less charitable fans prior to his heroics against Porto nine days ago - sparked a glut of
Nicklas Bendtner remains Arsenal's man of the moment ahead of Saturday's derby with relegation-threatened West Ham.
The ungainly Dane - dubbed 'Barndoor Bendtner' by less charitable fans prior to his heroics against Porto nine days ago - sparked a glut of 'Nick of Time' headlines after his injury time winner at the KC Stadium against Hull last Saturday, a goal that eventually cost Tigers boss Phil Brown his job.
Bendtner's late decider also highlighted how Arsenal finish games stronger than any of their title rivals.
No Premier League team has scored more times in the final 15 minutes this season; 19 of Arsenal's goals have come past the 75 minute mark - more than a quarter of their total of 71.
But this is not a new trait. Two seasons ago, when Arsenal led the title race for much of the season before falling away, they netted 27 times in the last throes of games and Arsene Wenger believes it is a vital component of their current challenge.
"Manchester United used to score late," said the Arsenal manager. "I believe this season nobody has scored more than Arsenal in the last 15 minutes.
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"Maybe it is down to our technical superiority and never-give-up attitude. That's what I like in my team. When I see them on the pitch, I know they will not give up."
Bendtner himself praised his team-mates for their indomitable spirit after the weekend win.
"If you give up after 80 minutes then you cannot be a player," said the 22-year-old, whose match-winner at Hull was Arsenal's fifth injury time goal in their last four Premier League games.
"We showed great character as we did against Stoke and we are going to keep on doing this.
"I always believe until the last minute that we can do it because I have seen it so many times.
"We pass the ball around and you think it's over but then we score a goal out of nothing. I always had that belief and I think the rest of the team had it and that showed again.
"It was important for us to keep going ... even in the 90th minute of the game you can still score."
Bendtner is clearly relishing the visit of Gianfranco Zola's West Ham side on Saturday side after six goals in his last five outings.
His ego has been suitably massaged over the past 10 days, and his confidence is higher than ever, despite some scathing criticism in his Danish homeland, particularly from legendary brothers Michael and Brian Laudrup (see Mediawatch below).
"I've always been like this, also off the pitch" he told Danish paper Ekstra Bladet. "I am who I am and it's up to the others to decide whether they like me or not.
"If I look honestly at myself, I see that I do not have a poor technique, not a bad shot and not a bad positional ability.
"So I take it easy, because in the end I will sit back with a big smile when I have reached my big goal."
Arsenal are the Premier League's form team and are gunning to win their sixth game on the trot - something they haven't achieved since 2007 - but should be mindful that West Ham have shown spirit in N5 in recent years.
The Hammers were the last side to win at Highbury and the first to take three points from the Emirates in April 2007. They have lost just once on their last four visits to Islington.
Their impressive England international goalkeeper Rob Green, who appears to have nudged ahead of his international rivals after Fabio Capello chose him for the 3-1 friendly win over Egypt earlier this month, this week admitted his team have "nothing to lose" on Saturday. He is clearly fearing the worst.
Wenger, meanwhile, is entitled to feel a sense of satisfaction after stubbornly refusing to change his philosophy despite pressure from fans and media earlier in the season.
"The rest of the season will be tight, interesting and exciting," he added.
"But with eight games - four at home, four away - to go we are still in the race. So let's have a go.