Arsene Wenger: Nicklas Bendtner’s Hat-Trick Puts Him In Contention To Start ‘Vital Game’ Against Sunderland

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    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Nicklas Bendtner is in contention to start the upcoming game against Sunderland, after the striker scored a hat-trick against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.

    The towering Dane has made only two starts in the Premier League so far this season, and has in the past been vocal about not receiving enough game time.

    The Frenchman also dropped a hint that the forward could be involved in the all-important Champions League second leg against Barcelona, if he puts in a strong performance against Sunderland.

    “It [the hat-trick against Leyton Orient] puts him in contention to play against Sunderland. For us that is a vital game,” Wenger told reporters.

    “If we win it it puts us in a great position.

    “But he [Bendtner] played well last year at Barcelona but what is important now is that if he plays he plays well against Sunderland.”

    The Gunners can put the pressure on Manchester United by reducing the gap between the two sides to just one point on Saturday.

    The north London club also have a game in hand over the Old Trafford outfit, which makes the coming games very important – particularly more so as the boss has confirmed that winning the Premier League is now the priority.

    And with Robin van Persie out for three weeks due to a knee injury, the onus falls on Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh to do the damage up front.

    Wenger said: “We have lost Van Persie so for Bendtner and Chamakh to score is very important.

    “We need them to have the level of confidence you need your strikers to have to take on the big games.

    “They took their chances [on Wednesday] and did very well.”

    Concerning Chamakh, the manager added: “With the games here in front of us we need Chamakh.

    “He had a great start to the season until the end of November and beginning of December.

    “After he had a little bit of burnout and now in training he looks to have come back.

    “For a while he looked very tired but it is really good for him to have scored.”

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    Arsene Wenger: Nicklas Bendtner’s Hat-Trick Puts Him In Contention To Start ‘Vital Game’ Against Sunderland