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."

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

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map