NICKLAS Bendtner has more reason than most to want to do well against Tottenham Hotspur in today’s lunchtime kick-off.
Every goal the in-form striker scores today will do his employers, Arsenal, even more good than Sunderland.
The Gunners have emerged as London’s Premier League front-runners. At the moment, though, goal difference is all that is keeping them ahead of their North London rivals in the race from the line.
Bendtner, on loan from Arsenal, knows a Sunderland win would go down very well at the Emirates. “I have a lot of respect and feelings for Arsenal,” he says. “I hope they do as well as they can, obviously. But I’m here now so I’m focused on Sunderland.
“I don’t lie in bed worrying if Arsenal lose a game, I’m sure they’ve got it covered.
“For me, Tottenham is a big game. But I’m thinking Sunderland need to do well, not that it is Arsenal’s enemy. Those North London games were always great to play, they were always a good atmosphere and it meant the world to the fans. It’s like here with Newcastle, they are great games to play in. I have scored against them – both in my own goal and in theirs. I scored a header in my own goal, at Tottenham. I can’t remember scoring it. We lost, I was upset.” Bendtner has returned from a fractured cheekbone in prime form, scoring four goals in seven March games.
“I’m playing a bit better and I prefer it when I get some chances!” he says. “I prefer it when I can at least say I’ve had some shots on goal, so you have a chance to miss it.”
Sunderland, too, are making progress, having last week become the first team to escape Eastlands in this season’s Premier League undefeated.
“It shows what we are capable of, it was a good performance,” Bendtner says of the 3-3 draw. “We had a disappointing result in the FA Cup, so it was important to bounce back. Having two goals lost in the last five minutes when you’re 3-1 up . . . it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, that shouldn’t happen.”