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Eduardo Returns In Style For Arsenal

358 days have passed since one of the worst injuries I’ve ever seen in a live game was sustained by Eduardo Da Silva against Birmingham City on February 23rd 2008. It make me cringe, I was shocked and stunned and urged the medical staff on to help him as quickly as they could. The players looked badly shaken and a hush descended on the crowd. Forget some of the nonsense comments that followed that game, Martin Taylor was simply late in going for the tackle and caught the Croatian badly, of that there is no doubt, but it was accidental, Taylor is no thug. It could have been the end of Eduardo’s career, no question. Tonight saw that injury consigned to history as Eduardo inspired Arsenal to an emphatic 4-0 victory over Cardiff City in the F.A.Cup 4th round replay at the Emirates Stadium.  People were keen to see the return but did anyone expect him to perform so well, so quickly. His movement, his pace and his eye for goal weren’t diminished in the slightest at all tonight, only his match fitness began to suffer as the match went on but Arsene Wenger is not one to forget the power of emotion. He removed Eduardo from the action enabling him to receive a standing ovation after 67 minutes from the Arsenal faithful. It was a delightful moment in football and a fitting gesture from Wenger.

It was an emotional and positive end to a year of hell for the young striker and everyone connected with Arsenal will be delighted to see his contribution have such a positive effect on the team and the fans. Cardiff may have given a great account of themselves in the first game at Ninian Park 3 weeks ago, but today they were blown away by Arsenal and have their on loan goalkeeper Tom Heaton to thank for keeping the score at 4-0. Arsenal were rampant.

The nicest moment tonight was the hug Eduardo shared with the Arsenal medical staff after slotting the penalty home, a real touching gesture and one that was completely genuine. It was a heartwarming sight to see such joy on everyone’s faces and says so much about the player and his relationship with Gary Lewin and the rest of the medical team. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lewin’s prompt action at St Andrews last season saved Eduardo’s career along with the unsung assistance of Gilberto Silva’s role as translator as Eduardo, in his pain, could only speak in his native Portuguese. Silva kept Eduardo from passing out, talking to him, cajoling him, urging him to stay conscious. That hug summed up the immense respect that both men have for each other and it’s rare to see such mutual admiration and thanks these days in football.

The impact this return could have on the final weeks of the season cannot be underestimated for Arsenal now. There are 13 league games to go, Eduardo is back, Arshavin is primed to join the fray and with Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky pushing for returns before the end of the season, the confidence that seeing Eduardo back on a pitch can give Arsenal now is a massive and timely boost. Players will want to be back and share the feel good factor that seeing the Croat play competitively again has given whole camp and Arsene Wenger will know that you cannot buy the confidence such moments as tonight bring you. It is priceless and for Arsenals season, it cannot come soon enough. Do not rule out Arsenal of finishing in the top 4 just yet, the Eduardo factor has just begun and who knows where it could take Arsenal come May 24th.

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  1. Matthew

    February 17, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I think Arsenal only need to worry about being in the top four this year. But the Champions League they might have a chance to win this year. With Walcott, Fabregas, and Rosicky returning they got a serious shot to make a push.

    In the offseason they need to invest in a defensive midfielder and a pair of center backs. To think so many have doubted Mr. Wenger but you can see his vision coming to fruition.

    Is Arshavin elegible to play in the Champions League>

  2. Tom_J

    February 17, 2009 at 4:41 am

    Quality Paul – Great writing

    He is a quality player – could he be the next Henry for the gunners?

  3. FredTheRed

    February 17, 2009 at 4:40 am

    I’m going to start calling you the postman because you always deliver. Top article and brought back memories of the David Busst injury against United. Great to see him back.

  4. Thomas

    February 17, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Great article.

    I think there’s a reason Arsene has had the prolonged success he has had at Arsenal. He knows what he is doing.

    Yes Arsenal have not won any silverware in a while. But don’t forget, Wenger has revamped the entire squad.

    Though it fair to critisize Arsene for letting Gilberto go, looking at all the players Arsenal have coming back, it makes sense why Arsene has been stagnant in bringing in high profile (besides Arshavin).

    Wenger’s patience should pay off soon. Arsenal are a young team brimming with talent. There going to be fun to watch as the season goes on, and they should be a force next year.

  5. ArthurArseGooner

    February 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Beautiful piece of writing. You are absolutely right. I almost cried when I saw the way he celebrated both goals and the way the players came around to celebrate with him. This is his redemption. He is so talented I wonder If Adebayor should now be worried for his starting spot next season because I believe Eduardo has given more effort this game than Adebayor has given all season. Eduardo and Van Persie upfront is not a bad idea for next season with Adebayor coming off the bench.

    One thing though, I dont think Eduardo hugged Gary Lewin. Gary Lewin left the club to take the England Physio job and I believe that didnt even look like him on tv. I think the commentators said a different name. But Gary Lewin should be thanked. He saved Eduardo’s life. His life was never in doubt but his career was and that is his life. I wouldnt be surprised if Eduardo did call him after the game.

    Thanks for bringing up Gilberto. He is truly missed. He should have been kept for a few more years because we need a true defensive midfielder. He should have been captain instead of Gallas.

    Arsene Wenger knows what he is doing. He did the right thing to put Eduardo in the starting 11. It seemed like the players were looking to get him the ball every time they were close to the box.

    In Wenger We Trust.

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