Ever the optimist, I can’t help thinking that last night may have been a watershed moment for Arsenal.
When Thierry Henry left Arsenal a couple of years ago, Arsène Wenger was linked with a whole list of big name strikers and yet he went for an unknown called Eduardo, who rapidly showed an eye for goal and a talent to justify his status as a hot shot forward.
I’m an Addict who believes we lost the title when he was crocked last season and that we would have won the Premier League if we’d had him for just five more games. If, if, if...
I have daydreamed (I need to get out more) about being there when Dudu scored his first goal after injury and he showed again how much he brings to the side.
Without wanting to denigrate Robin van Persie, the Dutchman has flashes of genius which can change games.
The difference with Eduardo is that his class is such that he raises the standard of those around him.
Ok, so we were only playing Cardiff City yesterday and one match certainly doesn’t make a season. The real tests come on Saturday against Sunderland and then next week against Roma.
But there is a palpable difference last night, and it’s no coincidence that Eduardo was at the heart of it.
Where the Crozilian led, others followed, and suddenly, we looked assertive, strong, willing to attack with pace and single-mindedness. Who else would have tried a 50yard shot on their comeback? The fact that Eduardo went so close confirmed his confidence and ability was not shattered along with his ankle.
It actually makes sense that Arsène Wenger bought Andrey Arshavin now, realising that (depending on how well he fits into English football), having more than one super-class player, as Le Boss would put it, is a huge benefit for the team.
Given some of his touches last night, it also makes a mockery of Wenger’s persistence with Manu Eboue. Ok, so he is able to provide defensive cover which is quite handy against roving wingers, but what else does he bring?
By contrast, even though he is raw, prone to the odd mistake and needs to bulk up a little, Carlos Vela took another step forward to showing what a fine asset he could be to the side. He deserved a goal for the way he brought the ball down and shot just before half time, and Nic Bendtner’s woeful follow-up underlined that playing Cardiff is about his level.
As one Addict said to me, with Theo Walcott, Arshavin, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky competing with Vela for wide roles, Eboue should never ever feature for Arsenal again unless Bacary Sagna gets injured. Amen to that.
I’m not Denilson’s biggest fan, but as the ‘water carrier’ in the side, his impact would look a whole lot more significant and worthwhile if he had an attack-minded partner such as Cesc alongside him. Six months into his first full season and he is growing into his role. Sadly, Alex Song does not have the drive to complement the Brazilian’s style.
With effectively two new players in the squad, perhaps Wenger will be able to bring Samir Nasri into the middle and thus provide central midfield spark until Cesc is fit again.
So a good night all round - I just hope Eduardo’s hamstring strain, which he also suffered for the Reserves before Xmas, isn’t going to hinder him too much. His return could be the making of our season.