Super Nick and Drogba: a comparison

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by Walter Broeckx

Some of us can still remember the CL game at home against Liverpool. When Cesc shot at goal the ball was kept out… by an Arsenal player, Nicklas Bendtner. Yes it was a painful moment for us and certainly for him. He got a lot of stick for this. Some fans declared him unfit to play for The Arsenal again. A little bit hard for a striker at the age of just 20 in those days.

When we crashed out the league cup that season when we lost at Tottenham and he scored an own goal there was the incident with Adebayor who had just came on and apparently had told Bendtner that he was rubbish. Nice teammate….

And another display of bad luck came in the league cup last year. He could have scored 6 goals on his own but could not manage to get the ball past his Danish compatriot Jensen who stands  in goal at Burnley. It was his misses that cost us the league cup in that season. Again he got some stick. I think it is just a fact that he doesn’t want to score against Jensen as we could see in the league in March.

So the impatient fans had made up their minds about him: not good enough, not now and never will be.  And Bendtner himself? He just stayed calm and said to the whole world that he would come good and that he had all the confidence in his skills to become one of the best strikers in the world.

When I went to the CL match in Liège this season, we met the Danish Gooners supporters club and they were as confident as Nick himself that he would turn to be very good. They couldn’t stop singing about it. And in fact in that game he was a Super Nick because he was the player that brought us back in the game when we were 2-0 down.

So where does he stands in this moment in his career ? Is he really promising at the age of 22 ? Well I think we can compare this best with someone who can  be called one of the best strikers of the world now, Drogba. But where was Drogba when he was 22 years old ? Was he a finished product ? Was he banging in the goals with his eyes closed ?

If we take the season 10 years ago, as Drogba is 10 years older than Bendtner we see that Drogba in that season played in the French second division for Le Mans. He played 32 games that season and scored 7 goals. So far Nicklas played 31 games(10 as a sub) and scored 12 goals. Now I don’t know if Drogba had an injury in that season but Nicklas was out for some 3 months this season and one must say that it is a bit more difficult to play in the EPL at that age than it should be in the French second division and it is difficult to come back after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Now I know that one season is not telling the whole picture and so I also made the same comparison for the seasons Drogba was starting his career and did it for the same years for Bendtner.

So far Bedntner has played 124 games for Arsenal, and these include many as a substitute, and he scored 36 goals. In fact almost half is his appearances was coming on as a sub. It means that he scores at least in every 4th game so far and keep in mind that in many games he didn’t play 90 minutes.

As Bendnter has now had four seasons with Arsenal I took the same number of years for Drogba and in his first 4 years, remember in the French second Division, he got 72 games and scored 15 goals. This means that Drogba in those 4 years played lesser games and he only managed to score 1 goal in every 5 games.

So if you look at it per season or over a number of seasons for the first years in his career Bendtner has been a better striker than Drogba was and again don’t forget that Bendtner had to do it on a much higher level than Drogba in his days.

Am I saying that Bendtner is a better striker than Drogba ? If you look at his statistics in the same age period I can say yes. Will Bendtner be a better striker than Drogba over the next 10 years ? If he continues his progression the way he is doing now than this is a possibility.

This season has been a mixed season so far for Bendtner. He had to play at the wing in the first games but he was doing good until he got his injury against Tottenham. And when he returned he made some vital goals for us. He made the last minute winner at Hull and did the same trick against Wolverhampton. So since coming back from injury he really proved the doubters wrong.

I cannot predict the future and you will not hear me say that Bendtner will be the best striker in the world. But if we look at what he has done so far at his age,  I think he has all the right to be confident about his performances and his goal scoring ratio. And if we stick with the Drogba comparison we can only hope that he continues on his way and maybe in the next 10 years he could be as important for Arsenal as Drogba is for Chelsea now.

I also remember when Drogba came to Chelsea the pundits on Match of the Day made a short video footage on how many times the ball was badly controlled by Drogba. The same thing that is/was being said of Bendtner: poor first touch. So having a poor first touch is something that you can work on as we can see with Drogba over the last years. I think there are not many people around who dare to say something like that when they speak of Drogba now.

Keep it up Nick. Just prove the doubters wrong.


The Untold Index to Everything Positive and Nice (except Fifa and its bent world cup)

Woolwich Arsenal – now there is a club on the brink of disaster

The Book – not as useful as the Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, but still, quite good for a read during the summer break.

31 Replies to “Super Nick and Drogba: a comparison”

  1. For NB52, Denilson, Fabianski,SN8, Diaby …

    *points at Eboue/Song this season*

    That is all.

  2. this is a message that will achieve greater resonance with repetition, and on that ground i understand this article. I agree with this article! however i assure you that today nobody who comes to this site will care half a damn to meditate on the greatness and the coming exceptionalism of b52. we know. we’re however thinking about something else today.

  3. I appreciate your article and share your opinion. I wonder what your take is on this my view: that for reasons of psychological warfare, we may need some big names that our opponents will fear. Not only so, some of these big names boost the confidence of our players. The Invincibles were a team that virtually terrorized the others just by their reputation alone! Also, the Big Sams of these world never went into their kick’em policy in the presence of people like PV4! I wuz wondering if we brought in the likes of Abrahimovic, Yaya Toure and Buffon (sell just Eduardo and Almunia) it would help us a lot. What do you think?

  4. I think Nick will be a player okay he makes mistakes but he is a work in progress he just needs to keep working hard especially on his ball control and shooting.

    One strong point in his favour is his work ethic when he doesnt have the ball. He was by far Arsenal best striker in this department. I know a striker is there to score goals first and foremost but woring hard for the team to win back possession is very important.

    I dont believe he should be playing out wide his naturally position is down the middle….. although next season he will be under pressue from Chamakh and V Persie (not sure if Wenger will revert to 4-4-2) but maybe this competition will be a good thing.


  5. rumours has it fab is off to barca…if he goes 30-35 mill would be peanuts…..he is in the ranks of kaka and ronaldo…arsenal should demand a fee in the range of 60 mill euro…what u guys think?

  6. I agree the transfer fee being quoted is a joke should be easily £50m for such a increible player.

    That said Bara will have a problme shelling out taht kind of money for a player who started in there ranks and I think that will work againist Arsenal in this deal. If it’s true then there is no point keeping a unhappy player and with Bara being the only team he will go to Arsenal dont have a good bargining position were they could trade two clubs off one another to get the highest price.

    They should be trying to get the £40m Plus Toure if the deal must go through :(…… Toure can play the holding roll with Song replacing Gallas at the back.

    I think Arshivan can play in Fabregas position with V Persie playing on the left of the attack and Chamakh/Nick up front leading the line.#

    A new keeper is needed so I’ll go with Hart but personally would like david James to be bought.





    —-Narsi——–Arshivan——V Persie


  7. Interesting post, Walter. To be honest I’m not totally convinced about Bendtner yet but I’ve seen a big improvement in his play this season, particularly in contributing to the team in the whole length of the pitch, so I remain optimistic.

    critic – Cesc may be worth 60m to us but he’s not worth that much to Barcelona who would quite like to have him but don’t actually need him. If he really has decided that he wants to go then Mr Wenger has to be realistic about either getting a reasonable price or hanging on to a player who doesn’t want to play for us anymore. The interesting thing might be that if Arsenal do agree to sell, Real Madrid then offer the kind of money you’re talking about. After playing second fiddle to Barcelona again they feel they need to capture yet more ‘galacticos’ and they’ve never been shy about paying silly money to get their man – c.ronaldo being just the most recent example. Snapping up a Barcelona target would suit them very nicely. If and for now we must keep repeating if, Cesc really does want to go, he could find himself going a bit further south than he intended.

    Changing the subject and I apologise if Tony is already writing about this but in the early years of the Abramovich reign at Chelsea, Tony and others suspected very strongly that all the money he was pumping in was loaned not given. After a few years we were proved right. Analysis of the books showed that every penny was a loan that could be called in at eighteen months notice if Abramovich lost interest, went bust or died. When UEFA started making noises about barring teams from UEFA competitions if they had huge debt or expenditure unsustainable through normal operations, Chelsea announced that at first half and later the remainder of the debt had been converted to stock and that Chelsea FC was debt free. Of course Chelsea continued to borrow money week in/week out as they can’t pay their wages from their gate/TV/merchandising/sponsorship income but the big debt was gone and Chelsea FC would be OK under the UEFA proposals.

    Except it wasn’t true. According to today’s Guardian, Chelsea Limited (which owned Chelsea FC) did write off the loans by converting them to stock. The thing is that Chelsea Limited, by now renamed Fordstam Limited (makes it less obvious at Companies House I suppose) still owes all the money to Abramovich and the debt has now risen to £726m. The claim that “Chelsea FC is now debt free” is revealed for what is, an accounting con set up purely to attempt to slip past UEFA restrictions. I only hope UEFA don’t fall for it.

  8. I understand why you compare the two like you do Tony. But, the main problem for us is that when Drogba was learning his trade 10 years ago, he was no where near Chelseas first team, he was in lower league in France, Bendtner is learning it while suposed to be playing an important role for a top team in Premier Leuage. That means that Chelsea didnt spend any time developing Drogbas basic skills like we do (and suffer for) with Nick. They got a finished article that came in and did a job straight off the bat and scored 33 goals. Bendtner netted a few goals in his first season. You shold measeure how good a player is for a club NOW, what is his contribution NOW, not what might happend in the future.

  9. Super Bendtner! Our own Super Pippo. Agree with you. To me he is a unique kind of forward. There are few strikers his size, but even fewer with his size and level of technique and flair. Ibrahimovic and Drogba comes to mind. And think of RvP when he was 22; not a superstar back then.

    Since we have a team full of midgets I think he provides us with unique possibilities; should Clichy, Theo improve their crosses Super Bentdner would score more goals.

    But he is still missing a bit of passion; he should use his size to break defenders down by playing ugly. Senderos was never the same man after he had played against Drogba!

    Anyhow, what are we going to do with RvP, Chamach and Bendtner? Arshavins got the left wing without a doubt and if I understand Wenger he considers Nasri a winger, plus we got Theo.
    A great squad but will some of them be satisfied sitting on the bench. So no need to be negative its a nice problem!

  10. I can remember when Paul Merson first came into the Arsenal team and his first touch was very poor. But the manager stuck with him and he became a great favouritr with the fans. Long before that John Radford was moved from centre forward to the right wing in order for him to gain confidence in somewhat more space. It worked so well that he was picked for England in that position and was then moved back into the middle where he became a legend.
    Diffent players take different amounts of time to develop to their full potential. Alex Song is an outstanding case in point and, again, it needed a change in the formation around him for it to happen.

  11. If we sell fab he may not be getting the same supply as he was previously a striker scoring goals isnt always about the striker it depends on who is in the team with him to create the oppertunities.
    I hope to god that story is rubbish we cant keep buidling from scratch, building a team is one thing rebuilding it every year is another.

    I love arsenal and always will but its getting annoying.

  12. Nice article Walter!
    Just adding my two cents to the analysis, Dont you think that if Drogba was in the Arsenal first team surrounded by a plethora of creative midfielders that we have at our disposal, his records would have been as good as bendtner, if not better?
    I think when evaluating strikers we also need to include the midfield factor in the equation.
    Another case in point would be Adebayor. I am sure his goal return improved dramatically after joining Arsenal.

  13. Rasta Monsta,
    in his first year at Chelsea in the EPL Drogba played 26 games and scored 10 goals. The next season he had 20 games and scored 12 goals. It was only in his 3rd season that he had 36 games and 20 goals.
    And then to drop back to a season with only 8 goals (19 games) and last year only 5 goals in 24 games.
    It was only this season that he had +20 goals in the EPL.

    So I would dare to say that Chelsea did had a lot of work on him before he turned the quality striker he is now.
    And don’t forget Chelsea payed 24M for him. I’m not sure how much we payed for Bendtner but it will be not as much.

    I must say that I did focus on the players performances when they had the same age. Because every player has a learning curve and I think it is unfair to compare a young 22 old player with a player of 32 who has done it (almost) all in his career.

  14. Hopefully he’ll develop into a Jan Koller type of mould give it a few years! That’d scare the shit out of EPL defenders! I think you are right, Bendtners best will be 25/26 years old, which is a good thing considering we have RVP at the moment, if theres anyone to learn off of for a good touch its RVP. (Unless we get Bergkamp to give him a few one to one lessons!) Great article

  15. hahaha..nice one Walter.
    So i guess next season when nick not having a good day i just compare him with drogba during his younger year to make myself good.
    We just need to patient with him i suppose but i must say that his dribbling skill is improving.

  16. Walter

    One thing you and others might like to consider is how many players aged 18-21 get established at top European clubs and how many play regular 1st team football for 5 years elsewhere then come to clubs like that ready to step up to the plate.

    Sagna’s a classic Wenger signing like that. Ditto Nasri.

    You look at Bendtner, Diaby, Walcott and they struggle more through getting less opportunities younger. Not no opportunities. But less.

    Don’t just compare players.

    Compare career routes. And managers’ decisions…..

  17. bendtner and drogba same sentence? Professional pundits players ,ex-players,managers (bar wenger) would laugh at this assumption.b52 will never be a 30goal season player soon or distant future.THIS IS LUDICROUS! Any fan who thinks different is blind! He will grow up to be good squad player 15 goal a season. B52 lacks the pace and raw power dogmeat has you cant teach that.

  18. Good logical argument Gary. Lot’s of evidence. Well constructed reasoning. Clear thinking.

    Thank you for that.

  19. have I just turned blind or what? 😉

    I should have put the EPL statistics in my article. Drogba scored 5 (five) last season for chelsea in the EPL.

    So why can people write him off like that ?

  20. Many years ago in a quiet place in far off Argentina, a little guy called Diego who was 15 months old, decided to get off his rear end, which had until then proved a perfectly adequate means of getting around, stand on lis pudgy little legs and walk. 10 years later and 5,000 miles away I made the same discovery. Diego discovered that this upright method of transport was a far more efficient way of getting to where food and toys were kept and so he got better and better at it. 10 years later, so did I. Diego progressed to toddling, walking and running. 10 years later, so did I. Diego grew to be 5’7 slightly plump for his age. 10 years later I’d grown to be a 6’3 athlete. (Advantage Moi). Diego had a God given natural ability that he then used to become the best footballer on the planet. I grew to be a 6’3 inch fat guy who was more at home in the stands watching than on the pitch playing. Can’t figure out what happened!
    Didier and Nic might well have been similar at some stage of their progression, sadly for us Gunner fans it means not a lot.

  21. I’m also in the camp that thinks Bendy is already an excellent centre forward and I was surprised and disgusted that last season he didn’t even get anywhere near the young player of the year nominations, despite his 15 goals and easily being the best young forward in EPL.
    But to compare him with Drogba is pointless really. They are nothing alike and Bendy will follow his own path, whatever that takes him to. If you are going to compare him with Drogba at his age, then why don’t you also compare him to Nic Anelka at 22, or Brazillian Ronaldo at 22 (to me the best striker I’ve seen in the last 25 years – even better than Van Basten to me) or Romario at 22, or Van Nistelrooy at 22, or actually to Van Basten at 22. I’m sure that you may reach slightly different conclusions when comparing him then
    It becomes futile, as all these players were individuals and have unique traits and skills. But lets agree that as long as he works hard at his game and keeps looking to improve, he will be a damn fine player in 2-4 years. Not bad at all for £200,000.

  22. Gary,

    Can you tell me how many times has Drogba scored 30 goals in a season? Twice in 6 seasons. In other four he has less than 15.

    Next question – How many squad players score 15 goals in a season in the premier league? I won’t give you the answer, go figure.

  23. my utmost respect to you walter!
    Nik will become a great striker. He can be as good as Batistuta if his technical progressing well but what I admire most about him is the character that he had. He’s a very positive lad and not bow to the pressure from his surrounding either in the pitch or off the pitch. He has the ‘believe & instinct’ that every striker should have. Its really fascinating to see him grow at Arsenal..IMO he’ll be a ‘silent killer’ for Arsenal in the future..I can’t get it why somebody hate him so much..he’s the guy who will give you something to smile for on the pitch..

  24. According to we paid £200,000 for Bendtner. I like Nik. He tries hard and really wants to be a great player. I know he misses his fair share of sitters, but he at least gets himself into good positions. He also is able to brush off negative comments and get past negative performances. This confidence can be a good thing because I think we have some players that let their heads drop too easily. I think we saw some improvements in him this season and I hope he gets a lot of minutes next season to continue his progress. Wenger put a lot of faith in him and I think Bendtner appreciates that and wants to do well for Wenger too.

    Keep up the good work here, I enjoy this site very much 🙂

  25. I agree….give Nick some more time…we have to remember that he is just 22.wait until he’s 24/25 year old before we label him as rubbish and then at that time if it is true that he is rubbish AW can sell him (if AW is still around)

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