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Pain and gain


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

MANAGER Arsene Wenger will not be rushed into any hasty transfers despite seeing striker Nicklas Bendtner sidelined by an ankle injury after helping give Arsenal a late 2-0 win over Cardiff to stay top of the Premier League.

The Gunners had appeared set for a frustrating start to the new year as the Bluebirds, with potential new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watching from the stands, battled towards what would have been a much needed point in the face of sustained pressure from the home side.

However, with just two minutes left, substitute Bendtner crashed the ball in from close range after David Marshall had saved Bacary Sagna's header. Then, in stoppage time, Theo Walcott sealed a victory which took the Gunners back above Manchester City.

Bendtner is now set for a spell on the sidelines having sprained his ankle as he put the ball past the goalkeeper.

However, Wenger will wait to decide how he tackles the January sales, with the squad in need of some attacking reinforcements as lead frontman Olivier Giroud is also troubled by his own ankle problem.


"I don't know, it doesn't mean we go straight from Nicklas' ankle straight to the transfer market," Wenger said.

Wenger believes Bendtner's goal was reward for his positive attitude since returning to the first-team picture this season.

"Nicklas is a player who has gone through some difficult periods, so I just want to give him great credit," said Wenger.

"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.

"Unfortunately he got injured and it looks like it is not a question of days, but weeks.

"He was a bit unlucky. He said he landed on the foot of a Cardiff player and sprained his ankle."

Bendtner, 25, has endured a testing spell in his career. He had unsuccessful loans at the likes of Sunderland and Juventus and also saw hopes of a move to Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day fail to materialise, while often becoming a focal point for fans frustrations.

Wenger continued: "I never give up on people because you always have to give them credit. I know the expression of the fans is only the diagnosis of the day, the photo of the day.

"They are always ready to change their mind if you put the effort and the performance in."

Wenger felt his side showed great character to finally break Cardiff's determined resistance. He said: "It looked like in the last 25 minutes the goal was coming, but sometimes it doesn't – and not only does it not come but you are then caught on the counter-attack. We needed resilience and intelligence not to make a mistake at the back and continue to go forward. In the end, Nicklas got us great relief."

Arsenal are now a point ahead of City once again, with Chelsea also having won on New Year's Day, as did Liverpool. Wenger said: "We have a good togetherness in the side, the players come on with the right attitude and that makes the difference.

"You know that if you do not have that in the championship, then you have no chance to do it. We have that in the squad, we have to take care of that spirit and show it in every game."