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Soccer-Wenger hails Bendtner impact

Reuters

(Repeats fixing number of games in ninth para)

By Mark Young

LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Arsene Wenger hailed the impact of forgotten-man Nicklas Bendtner after the Danish striker scored an early goal in a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Hull City for the Premier League leaders on Wednesday.

The unsettled Bendtner was a surprise starter for Arsenal in place of the in-form Olivier Giroud.

"It was always a gamble (to play Bendtner) for a guy that hasn't played for a long time," Wenger told a news conference.

"He worked hard in training and deserved his chance.

"We had him as a boy of 15 or 16 years old and made him sign a long contract twice. I have always believed in his quality. I believe he had a really good game."

Arsenal dominated Hull in the early stages with the Tigers camped in their own half for the opening 20 minutes before Wenger's team saw off a team lifted by Sunday's win over Liverpool with a second goal from Mesut Ozil.

"It was a good night because we had good control of the game and good technical quality and kept a clean sheet," Wenger said.

"Overall, we couldn't take all our chances but it was a very convincing performance."

The win kept Arsenal four points clear of Chelsea before a hectic period of seven games in three weeks including Everton at home on Sunday, a trip to Napoli and a visit to Manchester City.

"We have a very heavy schedule that is why I have rested players today," Wenger said.

"Now we play Everton on Sunday with little distance between them and Naples."

Wenger also refused to rule Manchester United out of the title race despite the Gunners pulling 12 points clear of the champions who lost at home to Everton.

"It is too early to rule out Manchester United," he said.

"It is a surprising defeat but we have seen that before. We have just to keep winning to have a chance and not worry too much about the others." (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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