Strike duo hold the key for Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh will be vital to their tilt at the Barclays Premier League after watching the duo net in the 5-0 FA Cup victory over Leyton Orient.

The Gunners came into the fifth-round replay smarting after Sunday's Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham but left celebrating a comfortable victory.

"We have lost (Robin) van Persie, of course, so for Bendtner and Chamakh to score is very important," said Wenger after the game.

Chamakh's first goal since November got the ball rolling in just the seventh minute, before Bendtner netted his hat-trick.

The Denmark international followed up a fine header and 18-yard drive with a 62nd-minute penalty to complete his treble, with substitute Gael Clichy wrapping up the result as he struck his first goal since November 2008.

The imposing result sets up a quarter-final clash at Old Trafford against Manchester United, who also stand in the Gunners' way of success in the Premier League.

However, Wenger believes his side have a strong chance of usurping Sir Alex Ferguson's side in both competitions even in the absence of in-form striker Robin van Persie.

The Dutch international faces up to four weeks out with a tear in a ligament at the back of his knee, but Wenger has backed Bendtner and Chamakh to fill the void.


The Frenchman said: "It is very important that they have a level of confidence to be successful in the big games.

"You need your strikers to take any chances and Bendtner did that well. We need Chamakh with the games in front of us. He had a great start to the season until the end of the November, early December when he looked a little bit burned out.

"Now he looks back [to himself] because even in training he looked a little bit tired. It's good for him that he scored."

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Marouane Chamakh
Nicklas Bendtner
FA Cup

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