With first choice striker Olivier Giroud already shelved with an ankle problem, Arsenal’s been dealt another injury blow at striker, with Nicklas Bendtner ruled out for “weeks” after picking up his own ankle injury on Wednesday.
Bendtner came off the bench to score the game-winning goal on Wednesday in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over visiting Cardiff, the first game this season Giroud had failed to start. Lukas Podolski, recently returned from his own long-term injury, got the call at striker only to give way in the second half to Bendtner, who broke a 0-0 tie in the 88th with his second goal of the season.
With the Denmark international out, however, the squad’s lack of striker options will be further exposed, with manager Arsène Wenger conceding a depth chart of Podolski and Theo Walcott is insufficient.
“It shows we are short,” Wenger said of Bendtner’s injury, speaking to the media after Wednesday’ match at the Emirates.
“He [Bendtner] sprained his ankle, [for] how long we don’t know but it looks weeks.
“We have Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott who can play striker but over the longer period we want more specialists to play through the middle.
“With two players injured it is difficult. Don’t be too quick at the moment, we will just say we have two center forwards injured.”
While Podoloski and Walcott can play through the middle, each have spent most of their time at Arsenal playing from wide positions. Walcott is Wenger’s starter on the right side of the team’s 4-2-3-1 formation, while Podolski’s most common position since joining Arsenal in the summer of 2012 has been left wing.
Summer signing Yaya Sanogo and 18-year-old Chuba Akpom have also made league appearances this season, the duo combining for nine official minutes in two calls from the bench. Neither player regularly dresses for Arsenal, who are said to be looking to acquire a forward in the January transfer window.
As far as the immediate future is concerned, the BBC describes Giroud as a “serious doubt” for this weekend’s FA Cup third round tie with Tottenham, leaving him and Bendtner to join Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Kieran Gibbs as likely absences. Combined, the injured players have accounted for 22 of the Gunners 39 league goals, with Giroud and Ramsey tied for the club-lead with eight.
Arsenal’s next league match is Monday, Jan. 13 at Aston Villa, a team that defeated the Gunners 3-1 to open the Premier League season.