Arsenal fans have had their run-ins with former players before. Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are just a handful of those who have all fallen foul of Gunners fans, booed upon their return to the club they once played for.
Tonight may be a very different affair, however. As Nicklas Bendtner faces his former club with Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup, he will strike little fear into Arsenal fans’ hearts. But could the former Premier League front man be the surprise package of the evening?
Here are a few interesting facts about the man who Arsene Wenger claimed had it all in the locker.
International Man of Mystery
Did you know the Danish striker has 29 international goals to his name? Bendtner boasts more net-busters than Eider Gudjohnsen, who can only lay claim to 26 for Iceland.
Nicklas also has two European Championship goals, having scored twice against Portugal at Euro 2012, as well as a solitary World Cup goal, which came against Cameroon in 2010. That means he has the same number of World Cup goals as Manchester United great, Wayne Rooney.
Bendtner’s recent career has gone off the rails somewhat, so it might surprise you to learn that he can claim to have won four domestic trophies in the last three-and-a-bit years.
The Dane has been involved in Juventus’s 2012/13 Serie A triumph, Arsenal’s 2014 FA Cup glory, as well as Wolfsburg’s 2015 DFB Pokal and DFL Supercup double. Perhaps Nottingham Forest are about to feel the benefit of his trophy-laden charms. Or perhaps not.
OK, Nicklas is not prolific, but he’s certainly no slouch when it comes to goals. According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Bendtner contributed either a goal or an assist every 142 minutes in England’s top division; there are many who strive for such a record.
The former Arsenal man also has eight Champions League goals in 33 appearances, as well as eight goals in 20 League Cup appearances, which could be bad news for Gunners fans as the EFL Cup rolls around…
When a player as young as Bendtner was in 2010, claims that they’re up there with the best in the world, they’d better have the goods to back it up. Bendtner didn’t, and as a result his time as a figure of fun began.
He didn’t help himself at Euro 2012 when he celebrated scoring against Portugal by lifting his shirt to reveal some Paddy Power shorts. Unregulated as the act was, it cost Nicklas to the tune of Â£80,000. Fortunately for Nicky, Paddy Power agreed to pay the fine.
Big Goals in Big Games
You’d be forgiven for thinking a man like Bendtner, who is working as hard as ever to bust the myth that he’s become a punchline, was ever the sort of player you could rely upon; but there you would be wrong.
Bendtner was regularly there for Arsenal in the big moments, scoring at the Nou Camp against Barcelona in a Champions League quarter-final, notching against Ipswich in a League Cup semi-final, and winning games in title-chases against Cardiff, Hull and Wolves in the dying moments.
Maybe there’s magic in those boots, yet…