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Loan Watch: Almunia In Great Form | Bendtner Scores Again

Despite the fact that Arsenal have multiple players out on loan, only five of these actually received game time this week; injuries, suspensions and just selection meant the likes of Bartley, Denilson and Wellington Silva were all forced to sit out.

Nicklas Bendtner:

The Dane started once more for Sunderland, this time lining up alongside former Arsenal transfer target Connor Wickham. Both the Black Cats and their opponents Bolton have struggled at the start of this season and needed a win to give their season a boost. After a nervous start from both teams, Sunderland picked up their performance and begun to dominate the game. Eventually the pressure told with just 8 minutes left when Sessegnon spun and from close range. Bendtner then sealed the win in injury time, slotting the ball neatly past Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal. This was the striker’s second goal of the season and he is becoming increasingly popular on Wearside; manager Steve Bruce spoke about him after the game:

“He’s done really well for us. I don’t care how good you are and what team you play for, if you don’t play week-in and week-out, it becomes very, very difficult.

“He’s a very good finisher with both feet and his head. There’s no reason why he can’t get you 15 goals a year.”

Whilst the Dane previously said that he would never play for Arsenal again, one hopes that if he were to have a successful season in the north he would reconsider as he could undoubtedly become a key player and offer Arsene Wenger something different.

Carlos Vela:

The Mexican returned from injury to play the final 14 minutes for Real Sociedad as they drew 0-0 at home to Getafe. Brought on to try and break the deadlock, Vela nearly did just that; the striker-come-winger’s corner was nearly converted by Llorente in injury time. Other than that Vela had a quiet game but will hope to return to the starting line up for Sociedad’s next game away at the season’s surprise package Levante.

Pedro Botelho:

The left winger came on just before the hour for Rayo Vallecano as Jose Sandoval’s team won 2-0 away at Real Betis. Just like Sunderland, Vallecano left it late to secure the three points; Bangoura opened the scoring in the 81st minute before Koke converted a penalty a minute from time. This was Rayo’s 2nd win of the season and moved them up to 13th, behind Athletic Bilbao and Real Mallorca on goal difference.

Joel Campbell:

Campbell received another start as he continues to make good progress at Lorient. The Costa Rican played 72 minutes before being replaced by Giles Sunu but was unable to break the deadlock as his side were halted by the ten men of Toulouse. Pavle Ninkov recieved his second yellow card midway inside the second half to give Lorient an excellent chance to take all three points, but a battling performance by TFC nearly resulted in them stealing the win at the end; Bulut headed over at the death.

Manuel Almunia:

With Henri Lansbury out for around six weeks, the Veteran Spaniard will be the focus of any attention that Arsenal fans give to West Ham. On Monday night the keeper travelled down to the South Coast along with the rest of his team mates and was rewarded with a clean sheet as West Ham won 1-0 against Gus Poyet’s newly promoted Brighton. Nolan gave the Hammers the lead after 17 minutes, taking advantage of a Bridcutt slip. West Ham were able to hold out for another away win, but certainly not without incident for Almunia; he made a superb diving save from Mackail-Smith before being caught as the aforementioned striker slid in, attempting in vain to score a late equaliser. However he was able to see out the full eight minutes of stoppage time; the extended time was due to a nasty injury to Gary Dicker. The impressive display may encourage ‘Big Sam’ to extend his loan period in East London, but is unlikely to open the door back into the Arsenal first team; years of mistakes and the excellent form of Wojciech Szczesny should ensure he never plays for Arsenal again.

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