Bendtner: February big month for Arsenal

Nicklas Bendtner admits Arsenal are now facing a month of games which could make or break their season.

The Gunners resume their Barclays Premier League title challenge at home to Everton tomorrow night, aiming to keep within striking distance of leaders Manchester United, currently five points ahead.



While an action-packed January saw Arsene Wenger's men continue their interest in both the domestic knockout competitions, yesterday's 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Huddersfield came at a cost when influential midfielder Samir Nasri picked up a hamstring injury which is set to rule him out of the first leg of the Champions League showdown with Barcelona.



Just a few days after that mouthwatering European tie, Arsenal will travel to Leyton Orient looking to move into the last eight of the FA Cup before then heading to Wembley for the Carling Cup final against Birmingham.



Bendtner knows with another packed fixture schedule ahead, there is little room for error.



"This next month is a bit of a decider," said the Denmark forward, whose deflected goal put Arsenal ahead against the Terriers, only for them to later need a late Cesc Fabregas penalty to see off the challenge of the npower League One side.



"Two cups will be decided and there are matches which will have a massive influence on the Premier League as well.



"February is a big month for us and at the end of it we will see where we are at. Hopefully it will all look fantastic."



First and foremost, though, Arsenal's battle-weary squad must recover quickly to take on an Everton side who have proved hard to beat away from home this season.



"It is always difficult to play again so quickly. We have played a lot of games, but we are sportsmen and this is what we have to do," Bendtner said.



"We have to be up for the challenge and be ready."



Bendtner, though, maintains Arsenal have developed a new-found resolve this season.



"People have said before that if we were not at our best games would end in draws," the 23-year-old continued.



"This season we have turned those question marks into victories, and that is what is making us stronger game by game."



Wenger feels Nasri's absence will be a "big blow".



Bendtner has challenged the rest of the squad to fill the void.



"Samir has been very important and scored some great goals. He can win games by himself, so obviously we will miss him - but someone else will have to step up and take his place," the striker said.



Denilson also suffered a hamstring problem against Huddersfield, but, with his side already down to 10 men and all the substitutes used, played on.



The midfielder, though, is hopeful he will be back in a matter of days.



Nevertheless Wenger is now likely to see if he can recall a couple of players from their loan spells, like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas at Cardiff and Henri Lansbury, who is away at Norwich.



Reports in Poland, meanwhile, have suggested goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski may need surgery on his shoulder injury - which makes the return to fitness of former number one Manuel Almunia, who produced a couple of good saves yesterday, a timely boost.



Wenger maintained he did not expect to bring in any new faces ahead of the closure of the transfer window, with Sebastien Squillaci providing defensive cover now he is back from a hamstring injury, although he will be suspended tomorrow following his red card against Huddersfield.



Elsewhere, a deal for Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still in the pipeline, but now likely to be made in the summer.



For Huddersfield, meanwhile, the focus is very much on just one aim - promotion to the Championship.



"The lads really troubled one of the best teams in Europe and we need to kick on from here now," said striker Alan Lee, whose second-half header was his first goal for the Terriers.



"We are very lucky to have the set-up we have at the club and we're going in the right direction.



"Now we just need to get to the next step - to be winning promotion."

News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Sport
footballLive: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
News
Nick Clegg playing 'Palin or prom queen'
newsNick Clegg on TV's The Last Leg
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
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