Best of Bendtner to come says Wenger

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger is optimistic Arsenal fans will soon see the best of Nicklas Bendtner.

The 22-year-old Dane is in line to make his first appearance of the season against Birmingham tomorrow after recovering from a groin problem which he aggravated at the World Cup.

Bendtner - who had a productive loan spell with the Blues during their promotion campaign of 2006-07 - believes he is "probably in the best physical shape ever" as he prepares to bolster the Gunners' attacking options, which could also include recovering England forward Theo Walcott.

Wenger accepts 6ft 4in Bendtner has only shown his potential on a handful of occasions and is confident the Dane - who is believed to have suffered the initial problem during a car crash in September 2009 - can find some consistency with an injury-free run.

"Let's not forget that since last November Nicklas has produced here and there, but never had a consistent presence because of his injuries," the Arsenal manager said.

"Apart from the fact he went to the World Cup we have not seen the real Nicklas Bendtner for a long, long time.

"He is the closest he has been to his best for a while.

"He was really, really handicapped by groin problems, but they have gone now."

Walcott - who had been in fine early-season form - was sidelined after suffering ankle ligament damage when playing for England in Switzerland on September 7.

"Theo might be involved on Saturday as well," Wenger said.

"I might put him in the squad. I will see how he is, but he looks very, very sharp.

"The only uncertainty is his ankle, but he might be involved."

Captain Cesc Fabregas, though, may need more time to recover from a hamstring problem, despite declaring himself fit during the international break, but England left-back Kieran Gibbs is available after his calf injury.

Despite the positive news, Arsenal did lose right-back Bacary Sagna to a thigh problem picked up while away with France.

Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) has, like Holland striker Robin van Persie, not featured since before the last international break and remains in rehabilitation, as does goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, who suffered an elbow injury during the 3-2 home defeat by West Brom - with the subsequent loss at Chelsea leaving Arsenal seven points behind the leaders and facing a fight to hold onto a top-four place.