By Giuseppe Muro

The competition for places in Arsenal’s striking department is the biggest since Arsène Wenger took over, in the manager’s opinion.

In the past Wenger has always stressed the need for four forwards competing for two places but, this season, he has three frontmen competing for just one starting spot.

Robin van Persie has been the preferred option of late, leaving Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner waiting in the wings. Throw in Carlos Vela and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who are set for January loan moves, and Wenger is spoilt for choice.

Bendtner has previously said a healthy rivalry brings the best out of the strikers at the Club and Wenger knows that his main trio will all have to play their part during this crucial stage of the season.

“It is the biggest competition we have had,” Wenger told

“At the start of the season we didn’t have Van Persie or Bendtner so centrally we just had Chamakh.

“But we now go into the most congested period and most decisive period of the season. So I feel everyone will be needed and everybody will be focused, on form and useful for the team.

“That’s a period where every win counts and I’m convinced that everybody can contribute highly to the success of the team.”

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12 Jan 2011