Everyone loves a Dane after Bendtner's hat-trick

The odds on Nicklas Bendtner scoring a hat-trick against Porto were shorter than those of finding an alien life-form, but not by all that much. Bookmakers offer about 100-1 that we will discover the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life. Last night the odds on Bendtner scoring his first hat-trick in senior football against the Portuguese champions were 40-1.

The Arsenal striker had been called many things, including the "Pantomime Dane", after missing three sitters against Burnley on Saturday. The only reason he managed to keep his place to face Porto in a game Arsenal had to win if they were to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals was because of the lack of any viable alternatives.

The three goals Bendtner scored were hardly memorable, unlike the two others by Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboué, both of which were outstanding examples of the magical football that Arsenal are capable of producing. His first was a smart reaction to stab home a loose ball, his second was a tap-in after wonderful work by Andrei Arshavin, and his third and final goal came from the penalty spot after Eboué was upended in stoppage time. But the record books will show a hat-trick, the first for any Arsenal player since Thierry Henry in 2006.

Bendtner said he was not thinking about proving people wrong following his catalogue of errors at the weekend. "Every time I play a game I put it behind me as soon as it's finished," he said last night. "Sometimes it's one of those days and today I put it right. I'm happy with my hat-trick but tomorrow we move on."

Bendtner has never been short of confidence, despite the knocks he has taken. The Dane has even been booed at times last season by his own supporters, fans who have grown up on the likes of Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and the imperious Henry. For them, Bendtner doesn't just not score enough, he looks ungainly when he misses. Yet despite it all he has managed to keep his self-belief intact. So much so that Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, expressed his hope that Bendtner's goals will not go to his head.

Wenger said: "It shows first of all how quickly football changes. I hope it will not give him too much confidence. It is good for him, I'm happy for him because he had a good game on Saturday, missed chances and today he had less chances and scored three goals. I hope it gives him the desire to work even harder.

"Football can change very quickly in three days, it goes quickly up and quickly down. It shows you he's not lost his confidence. He came back with focus and the same belief. It's one of his strengths. His confidence level is always stable. He has the size and presence we need."

If Bendtner needs inspiration in how to become an Arsenal legend, he could do worse than look at the example of Sol Campbell. The 35-year-old defender was playing his first home game for Arsenal since May 2006. His quiet performance at the back proved to be foundation for the side's victory. And when Bendtner beat Helton in stoppage time to score the penalty that brought him his hat-trick, Campbell was at his side to congratulate the young striker and bellow words of encouragement into his ear. Or perhaps he was telling him to keep an eye out for flying saucers.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness