Thursday, December 22, 2011

22 December 2007 - Bendtner Rises To The Occasion

On 22 December 2007, Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner set an English record by scoring only 1.8 seconds after coming on as a late substitute against Tottenham Hotspur.

Although Bendtner had signed with the Gunners back in 2005, he had spent the 2006-07 season on loan at Birmingham and was eager to establish a place in the Arsenal first team. By December, he had scored crucial goals in the League Cup and the Champions League, but had not yet opened his Premier League account.

His moment finally came in the North London derby, as Arsenal hosted Tottenham. With Bendtner on the bench, Arsenal took a 1-0 lead with a goal from Emmanuel Adebayor (48'), but Dimitar Berbatov (66') drew Spurs level. The visitors had a chance to go ahead in the 72nd minute after the referee awarded a penalty for a Kolo Toure foul on Berbatov, but Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved Robbie Keane's tame attempt.

Two minutes later, with the match level at 1-1, Arsene Wenger made an attacking change, sending Bendtner on for midfielder Emmanuel Eboue. The Danish striker immediately positioned himself near the far post for a Cesc Fabregas corner kick, then charged into the goalmouth to head the ball past goalkeeper Paul Robinson. It was Bendtner's first touch of the ball, coming only 1.8 seconds after he entered the match, and proved to be the game winner.

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