Bendtner grateful for faith
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is determined to repay manager Arsene Wenger's faith in him.
Last Updated: 22/02/10 3:13pm
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner says he will repay the faith shown in him by manager Arsene Wenger by firing his side to the Premier League title.
The Gunners' 2-0 win over Sunderland at Emirates Stadium lifted Wenger's side to within two points of second-placed Manchester United and kept alive their hopes of challenging for the crown.
Arsenal had looked out of it following their back-to-back defeats against United and league leaders Chelsea, but a crucial win over Liverpool and recent slips by their rivals puts the North London club back in the frame.
Bendtner was on target in the 27th minute to set Arsenal on their way to three points that were made safe by Cesc Fabregas' last-minute penalty.
The strike - from Emmanuel Eboue's low cross - was Bendtner's sixth of the season and his second since returning from ankle surgery, which ruled him out for three months.
With fellow frontman Robin van Persie sidelined until April at least, the pressure was on Wenger to bring in a striker during the January transfer window.
But the Frenchman opted to remain patient and wait for Bendtner's return, leaving the 22-year-old to return the favour to his manger and vindicate his decision.
He told the London Evening Standard: "That faith is very important and all I have to do now is show him he made the right choice.
"I am sure he has and I have to show that on the pitch. I have been ready to carry the fans' hopes for some time - it is nothing new to me.
"It has been very frustrating because I set myself a target at the start of the season. Obviously, because of my injury it has been really difficult to make that target.
"It is nice to be back scoring again and I need to score two goals in all the remaining games to reach that."
Arsenal now have 11 games left to over turn Chelsea's six-point advantage at the top of the division and claim their first title since their unbeaten run in the 2003/04 season.
The Gunners lost both their games against United and Chelsea earlier in the season, but Bendtner believes that won't detract from his hopes of making a late bid for glory.
He added: "Last season, United didn't win against any of the big four and they won the league, so it shows anything can happen."
Bendtner's next test will come against Stoke, who saw off his side in comfortable fashion in a 3-1 FA Cup fourth round win for the Potters.
A win at the Britannia Stadium and defeat for Manchester United in their game against West Ham would see Arsenal go second.
And manager Wenger knows his charges must come away with a win if their resurgence is to count for anything.
"We have to turn up at Stoke with full belief or the dream will be shattered," he said.