Friday, August 24, 2007

Walcott vs. Bendtner

Following Theo Walcott's surprise call up to Sven-Göran Eriksson's World Cup squad, he has been followed by an incredible amount of hype, being tipped to become the next Henry at the tender age of 18. Of course though, in an Arsenal side inundated with young talent, Walcott is not the only promising young striker. 19 year-old Nicklas Bendtner has been recalled from his loan at Birmingham, and is now part of Arsenal's first-team squad.

Few would agree with me on this, but I believe that Bendtner has even greater potential than Walcott. In his Emirates debut, a friendly against PSG, Bendtner scored Arsenal's first goal and assisted Mathieu Flamini's winner. Possessing a strong header (and a large height advantage at 6 ft 3 in) Bendtner is a huge threat off of set pieces and crosses, but at the same time troubles defenders with his dribbling and strength on the ball. He has the potential to become the target man that Arsenal have been lacking in their previous two seasons.

Walcott though, could be the one providing him with killer crosses. Wenger is not yet sure whether Walcott is best as a winger (where he has been deployed in most of his Arsenal games) or as a striker. With his incredibly acceleration, Walcott has enough pace and trickery to cause huge problems for any defense, and at the age of 18, Theo has plenty of time to develop into the next Henry - or the left-winger which Arsenal have been missing. However, one thing that Walcott lacks is the killer instinct which Henry had. While he has an impressive record of 4 goals in 7 games at the U21 level for England, he has been unable to score a league goal for Arsenal in 17 appearances. There is no doubt however, that Walcott will mature to become a force to be reckoned with.

It is impossible not to rate both of these Arsenal youngsters highly, I have to give the nod to Bendtner, if only because of his aerial ability. What he lacks in pace he makes up for in height, and unlike Emmanuel Adebayor, Bendtner has no problem putting away his headers.If Arsene Wenger manages to fend off the approaches of Inter Milan (and many more clubs to come) Arsenal will, without a doubt, have one of the best strikers in the Premiership.