Everybody’s Happy Nowadays
Media reports of Nicklas Bendtner having the ‘last laugh’ put the whole of the coverage surrounding his performances in recent days into the perspective that they deserve.
The image which sprang to my mind was a Python-esque character, dressed in Superhero garb, proclaiming, “I laugh in the face of danger“, his horn-rimmed spectacles perched precariously on his nose. The ‘danger’? Anyone taking the criticism and praise seriously without realising that they will return in equal measure, depending upon his performance at Hull on Saturday.
Bendtner noted that this is the manner in which the ‘issue’ was dealt with ‘internally’:
There was some criticism of me after the game last Saturday, but me and my team-mates have just laughed about it. They made jokes with me. That is how I look at that – I laugh. They have all congratulated me for my hat-trick and then we laughed about it – in a good way.
Thomas Vermaelen was effusive in his praise for the Dane, positive about his resilience and strength of character, as well as acknowledging the alternatives that Bendtner provides for the team, especially as an outlet for releasing defensive pressure:
He doesn’t struggle with confidence and that is a good thing for a striker. You always need a good centre-forward who scores goals for the team, he did that against Porto and I hope he will score a lot of goals in the future.
For us it’s good that Nicklas is there, you can give the long ball and he wins headers and you can put opponents under pressure. Sometimes that is really good. It gives you more options
The key thing though was Vermaelen’s assertion that Bendtner was no less happy with his performance against Burnley than he was with the hat-trick against Porto. Whilst that may be too simplistic an interpretation of Bendtner’s mood – I am sure he derived more personal pleasure from scoring than not doing so – the attitude underlines one of the core values apparent in the squad now divisive members have moved on: unity and stability in behaviour.
Bouyancy quite rightly drives the squads outlook. A tricky spell with some poor performances has been negotiated, adversity in the form of Aaron Ramsey’s injury overcome and now they look forward to season-defining games, albeit one at a time. None of them are straightforward in that the team cannot believe that they can just turn up and take the victory; each of their opponents has something to fight for.
Wenger and his staff have done an outstanding job this season with morale, regrouping the players after setbacks, instilling into them humility in victory, efforts to prevent that duly recognised if misinterpreted widely in their media regurgitation, eliciting the desired over-reaction from Messrs O’Neill and Pulis.
No doubt he is helped by the fact that the egos are kept under wraps in public, presumably controlled by the fact that the outstanding players for all of the individual efforts and skills are very keen to point out the contributions that colleagues make, ensuring everyone is appreciated and the everyone appreciates the ‘lesser’ players.
The players have always been ‘positive’ in their media outlook, rarely depressed or seemingly so, in their comments which in itself is no bad thing given how much confidence contributes to performances.
Ensuring that nerves do not overtake them in the run-in is a key test for Wenger; he has the experience of winning titles, the squad for the most part, the experience of losing one. Make no mistake, the scars of 2007/08 will burn deeply in their professional psyche and forge a determination to win the title, a determination which they have shown tiem and again this season.
Posted on March 11, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 144 Comments.