Writer: Ozi Gooner
Date:Wednesday February 27 2008
In the aftermath of the Birmingham game most of us Gooners have been so focused on the tragic and horrific injury to Eduardo and the media's pompous, xenophobic and unrelentingly Anti-Arsenal/Arsene coverage of the incident that we have, understandably, forgotten to acknowledge the contribution and performance of a much improved Theo Walcott.
They say that with every negative there comes a positive and the first of the three positives I'm about to address is that of the performance of Theo. He stepped up on Saturday when nobody else looked likely and did successfully what most of us have been waiting for him to do for ages, run at defences and use his pace to scare the absolute shite out of the opposition. His second goal was exactly the type I hope we will come to expect from him, and the finish was top notch - calm and inch perfect, even off of his unfancied left foot. Bravo Theo, congratulations on your first premier league goals, may it be the beginning of a shower of them and a long and brilliant career at the Arsenal. There may not have been a better time for the young lad to show what he has to offer as, with Eduardo's injury and serial sicknote's RVP and Tommy Gun still absent, we are short of goal scorers and forwards which will surely leave Theo with more time to shine.
The second positive, is that of the siege mentality we had been lacking since November. Early in the season it seemed we thrived off the underdog tag that had been attached to us by almost every 'journalist' (and I use that phrase very, very, very lightly) in the footballing fraternity. Indeed at that time it seemed every interview with an Arsenal player alluded to this fact and Cesc has reiterated this point again just this week. Maybe now, when we really need a push in the right direction, the events of this week will tip the scales in our favour.
Make no mistake people, our season is very much in the balance. In the next three weeks we are literally playing for our lives - we could still have a good shot at a double, or if things go wrong, an outside chance at the PL title. Heads could be dropping as things seem to be beginning to fall apart at the seams but, maybe this Eduardo situation and the anti-Arsenal, pro-British/United agenda that has been prevalent in the media since Saturday will spur this young side on to great things, and their will to win may be boosted by the belief that they owe the title to Eduardo. There is only two ways it can go from here and I personally, being the optimist that I am, believe that this influx of Anti-Arsenal sentiment could just be the medicine this team needed to get themselves back to their destructive and ruthless form of the early part of the season and push them over the line.
Last, but probably most importantly, I would like to say a few words on Eduardo. We all know this boys character. He moved from Brazil to Croatia as a 15 year old boy - two more different and contrasting environments you would be hard pressed to find - because he was told he was to small and not good enough for Brazil. He fought for 6 years through 2nd and 3rd division football in a climate and footballing style that was incomparably different to that he grew up with and not only went on to became the best player in the Croatian first division and the first ever foreign captain of Dinamo Zagreb but also the key to his adopted nations qualification into the European Championships. His will to succeed is unquestionable, and this same attitude that drove him to Croatia and the hard work that earned him his reputation is what will make the difference between his successful return or inconspicuous departure from football.
Anyone still feeling negative would do well to remember Henrik Larsson, as similar a player to Eduardo as you are likely to find, suffered a horrific double break at the same age as Dudu. He had the same fight and drive as the Crozillian and went on to be a champion for both Celtic and Barcelona. If Eduardo's recovery can be anywhere near as complete as that of Larsson he, and Arsenal fans the world over, will be immeasurably happy. It maybe a long way off but Eduardo should feel happy knowing that when he does return to the side he will get possibly the greatest reception of any Arsenal player ever to take the field, bar Bergkamp at his testimonial. Here's to a good recovery Eduardo, we will miss you!
That's it for now boys, keep positive. It's still our title to lose. Drink up!
Date:Wednesday February 27 2008
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