By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger believes Nicklas Bendtner has come in for some “harsh” criticism this season.

After succumbing to injury at the start of the campaign, Bendtner has since struggled to oust Marouane Chamakh and Robin van Persie to hold down a regular starting spot.

But, despite limited opportunities, the Dane has still weighed in with his fair share of goals including that tie-turning strike against Ipswich on Tuesday. Wenger feels the Dane has had a number of factors go against him that others may have overlooked.

“Sometimes people are very harsh with him because he is not as active as Walcott who is mobile,” said the manager. “The size goes a bit against him but if you look at his efficiency, assists or goalscoring - it is top class.

“We have at the moment many offensive players and there is big competition going on. Bendtner has been out for a long time and at the end of last season he played without being really fit because he was desperate to go to the World Cup.

“He then went to the World Cup and played when he should not have done. He then had surgery and it took him a while to come back. When he came back it was competition [for places].

“I kept faith in him because I feel he is top quality. He is in the situation of players who are patient and have talent and want to play.

“You have special demands when you are a striker. People want you to deliver something special and at Arsenal they are used to seeing someone deliver something special upfront.

“He can deliver that. For example the goal he scored the other night was top class.”

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29 Jan 2011