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Look for the Silva lining

At pretty much the same time as van Persie was being stretchered off the pitch in Italy on Saturday evening the News of the World`s comic book presses were printing a story, in the full sense of the word, linking Eduardo with Liverpool. The thrust was that Eduardo was becoming disenchanted having had few chances since his return from a career threatening injury in February and was concerned that with 18 months to go negotiations to extend his contract hadn`t taken place. It`s ironic that this tale of frustration should emerge now that both van Persie and Bendtner are out.

The system that Arsenal has played this season with van Persie up top seems to limit the opportunities for strikers though both Bendtner and Eduardo have featured on the left or right of the central forward. Now with both Robin and Nickolas out Eduardo finds himself pretty well unchallenged, with only Vela and Walcott both due to return from injury as probable alternatives, to lead the attack.

It`s amusing to read some of the posts by anxious Citeh and Spud fans crowing that having, temporarily at least, lost our best player we will now fall apart and their hopes of that desperately coveted fourth spot must therefore be encouraged. It`s pretty much the same tone they adopted when we sold what they also perceived as the irreplaceable Adebayor, our last best player, who had in turn replaced the irreplaceable very best player Henry we sold earlier. You would think they would have learned by now that in playing the creative, attacking game that we do our best player is often the next one in.

It`s also curious to read how much perceptions of van Persie have changed in such a short time. Only a couple of months ago there was still a fair amount of doubt whether Robin was the right player for the role despite enjoying a good, relatively injury free, season previously. He hasn`t been universally accepted as indispensible to the team for all that long. Conversely, it is only a little over 18 months ago that Eduardo would, in all probability, have been the more popular choice to lead our attack. A year out having broken his leg has dulled the memories of the player who scored 12 goals in his first 22 starts for us and also notched up a fair number of assists in the process. A player who came to us having scored 34 goals in 32 games in his last season with Dynamo Zagreb, a feat which disguised the fact that he was also creating his fair share of goals for them too.

Having played in fitful bursts since his return from injury with the inevitable setbacks inhibiting any chance of a prolonged run in the team it is worth noting then that in the 8 starts and 9 subs appearances since his return from injury Eduardo has still notched up 6 goals and 5 assists. RvP has settled into his role so well and dispelled the doubts that followed him so comprehensively that concerns as to whether we can maintain the effectiveness of recent games are inevitable. Can Eduardo then give us what Robin has given us this season? If we are looking for pace and the sort of explosive invention and power that RvP delights us with then no - he can`t. But he does bring an intelligence of movement and predatory finishing skills that mark him out as a good deal more than a squad player. That same intelligence also gives him the ability to create chances for others with a subtlety of touch and vision that isn`t as fully appreciated as his finishing skills.

I have read some comment that Eduardo won`t put in the work in tracking back and dropping off to collect the ball where needed. In my view that is a great misjudgement of Eduardo`s play - look where he was on the pitch when he suffered that fateful injury against Birmingham. Eduardo is no mere goal hanger. There is no doubt we will miss the qualities that van Persie brings to the team but that shouldn`t lead to the dismissal of those very real qualities that Eduardo is able to bring. Different gifts maybe but also with the capacity to be devastating in their own way.

The run of games that the Crozillian should now get is an opportunity that, though the circumstances might be regrettable given the way we have started the season, is one that we might well have craved in other times. Will we see the player whose abbreviated season so excited us close to 2 years ago? For sure the ability is there and though we have to consider the caveat that you are more likely see in the financial pages - past performance is no guarantee - hopefully we`ll find that this particular cloud does have a Silva lining.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 17 2009

Time: 1:30AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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i really do think that people tend to overlook eduardo's ability to set up his teammates, I have seen him execute a fair number of flicks and back heels to great effect which will benefit our playing style around the box. his back heel against AZ being a prime example.
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17/11/2009 03:58:00

Eduardo is indeed the silva lining :) this guy is pure class for both arsenal and coroatia. when everyone was raving about adebayor in the season before last, i mentioned that given an extended period of time without injury, RVP would rise to the very top at our club. so i'll say the same here of eduardo. you cant dispute class, and he has shown since coming back from his long absence that he still has it, in fact he is somewhat more aggressive now in his tackles. although i am bitterly disappointed that the highly gifted RVP is out for 6 weeks or so, i am excited to see eduardo given time and opportunity to shine. i hope vela too comes back soon, he is another player who can set our club on fire!!!
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17/11/2009 06:03:00

no "explosive invention" from Eddy? I beg to differ! I can remember more than one incident where he left a host of players for dead, wrecking havoc in their defense. The dude can play ball, make no mistake...
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17/11/2009 07:32:00

Ironically, Eduardo first started to impress us because he was given a chance by injury to van Persie in late 2007. In successful seasons, the squad players always get their chances and have to make the step up. Look at Manninger, Flamini at left back, Henry when Suker got injured, Fabregas when Vieira and Edu were unavailable, in 2002 three of our goalkeepers qualified for a Championship medal. My big concern would be whether Eduardo's fitness is up to a prolonged spell in the side, which he will have to prove.
Little Dutch
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17/11/2009 08:06:00

With Eduardo, I doubt that we will miss van Persie very much. Inasmuch as I am sad that RVP is out for about 6 weeks, I am also glad the opportunity has come for Eduardo to remind us of what we have missed since his horrible leg break. What a paradox.
Warri Gooner
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17/11/2009 08:36:00

Wasn't the injury suffered on the edge of their box? ;) L Dutch - nothing new there (especially under Wenger) with players staking a claim when others have been injured as opposed to forcing themselves in. On a sidenote - how long's Walcott out for?!
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17/11/2009 09:43:00

I think Wenger has been easing Eddy back in as he seemed to be suffering a lot of niggles associated with long term lay off. Now he has to come back fully I just hope he is fit enough. No doubt though Eduardo is class in a glass, I loved it when he came back and scored that amazing goal with the ankle he broke! I too am curious to know when Walcott AND Vela are due back because if Ed does pull something then we are strikerless!
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17/11/2009 09:54:00

Eduardo was coming from a deep position and the injury suffered halfway between the Brum box and the halfway line. The only point being that he does his share of work in the midfield area when needed so there needn't be any concerns in that regard.
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17/11/2009 09:54:00

i really do think that people tend to overlook eduardo's ability @missing one on one's
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17/11/2009 10:45:00

When properly match sharp he doesn't miss them often. Just as well for you he let the spuds off the hook recently though. It was embarrassing enough for you as it was.
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17/11/2009 10:53:00

Well, if it was up to me Eddy would be in the starting 11. Although he doesn't bring what RVP does, he does bring another dimension. He's quite similar to Torres inside the 18 yard box. He's a very, very good goal scorer (as his record for Zagreb shows) and having Eduardo as a replacment just shows the quality we have on our team. He'd be playing starting 11 in any other team in the PL. For ManU i'd play him over Berbatov, for Chelsea i'd play him over Anelka, and for Liverpool, well he can can just become a second striker since they don't play one. He's fkn class and i hope he proves himself to show what he is capable of now he has his chance
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17/11/2009 13:26:00

Some wise buzzard once said, cometh the hour, cometh the man, or something that sounded pretty much like that. If Dudu is good enough for Wenger, hes sure good enough for me, and I'll trust Wenger's judgement over the doomsayers' any day. I'm concerned about his fitness level, but I'm sure Wenger considered this before taking the decision to pass on Chamack, he could or may however not have factored in the loss of both Bendtner and RVP at the same time, and so early in the season, but then, who could have done so without some level of psychic powers? Let the rival fans crow all they want, they'll soon realise that with us, the bench is truly strong, with talents, not weight. I'm looking at you Huddlestone!
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17/11/2009 14:37:00

i must admit he is a cool finisher an calm, if he can get a run of game like 10, wud be the world of good, hes a player that needs to start week in week out to get the benifit
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17/11/2009 16:23:00

If Edurado stays fit we arent going to have a problem for the 6-8 weeks that RVP is out, its a big if though. Also with the system we are currently playing dont be suprised to see Arshavin playing right up top, his ability to create space and bring others into play fits the bill for this role.
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17/11/2009 16:54:00

iceman, Arshavin can play that role, and I also feel that theo can as well. although he'd do it in a different style and will need to be fed the ball, I feel as though he is capable of leading a line...
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17/11/2009 17:01:00

Arsene will probably stick the new Eddie Murphy (Eboue) up top or maybe Diaby ;)
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17/11/2009 17:18:00

LOL, iceman, I saw that quote from Eboue. He's the team clown, no wonder the other players like him so much.
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17/11/2009 19:45:00

He may come deep to get the ball every now and then Amos, but comparing what Robin does and what Eduardo does is just looking at two people standing in the same place and calling them the same person. Eduardo adds a lot of things to any side, but fact is, they're very different things to what RVP adds and that is how we've been playing all season. The whole side is going to have to change to suit Eduardo - we're capable of making that change, though as we saw with how it supposedly took Robin a few games to fit in to the new formation, it may be the same for Dudu. My major worry is the same as LD's, wether or not he will actually be able to remain fit for more than 2 or 3 games in a row, I think that more than anything is Eduardo's real acid test here. Also, hopefully his shooting gets back closer to Eduardo circa 2007 than Eduardo 2009.
Ozi Gooner
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17/11/2009 22:32:00

I hope he leaves hes too good a player and bloke to play for the arse von queer currently having a serbian horse massage and the cesc whose leaving for the highest price should test the depth of the arse squad.
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18/11/2009 02:24:00

will our goal scoring average reduce as a result of RVP being out? perhaps not, because our strikers took a while to get going this campaign, it was our midfield and central defenders that provided the goals. i expect that to continue now, thats the beauty of the 4-3-3 system we're playing in this season. i heard paul masefield comment last night on espn, that you can just about put any 6 attacking players on the pitch for us and they will get the job done, because of the system we play. the worrying news now though, gibbs apparently injured as well. it means silvestre to slot in, and his lack of pace worries me.
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18/11/2009 03:21:00

Paul Mansfield is a dolt then. You don't just put any player on the field and they score because of 'the system' it's the players in the system and how they suit it and add to the coaches instructions. The midfield and central defenders may have scored a lot of the goals early on in the season, but anybody who doesn't think RVP was helping to 'provide' them is delusional.
Ozi Gooner
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18/11/2009 03:25:00

Argh I hate November! Gibbs out injured now???!!!
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18/11/2009 04:43:00

Argh I hate November! Gibbs out injured now???!!!
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18/11/2009 05:40:00

ya Gibbs is out too. maybe Eboue can play at LB now but i'd say put Gallas at LB & Senderos in the centre with Vermaelen. this is one aprtnership i'd love to see. playing alongside with the Verminator will surely bring the best out of Senderos..
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18/11/2009 06:23:00

iceman/jaelle ...whats this Eboue/Eddie Murphy joke? And i would be seriously fkd off if i see Eboue or Diaby on over Eduardo.
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18/11/2009 06:53:00

I agree that Eduardo and RvP are different players - in fact I said precisely that. But Eduardo will also do his stint for the rest of the team and will create chances for others. I don't think Eduardo involves any great change in the rest of the side just some minor changes to accommodate the difference in pace perhaps. That could mean fewer goals from midfield and more from the forwards but I don't think it need be significantly different. I guess we'll find out over the coming weeks. There are bound to be concerns about his ability to remain fit but right at this moment that's true of most of our squad.
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18/11/2009 08:14:00

My worry would be more the provision than the goalscoring, we all know Eduardo is good for a goal, but RvP has created more chances for team mates than any other player this season and a shift in dynamic will inevitably take a couple of games- but with Sunderland away and then Chelsea they're games that we can't really afford to feel our way into. (Though, that said, we managed to beat United last season with a strikeforce of Bendtner and Diaby). I appreciate the statistic of Eduardo's assists, but I think most of those came from him playing on the left.
Little Dutch
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18/11/2009 08:32:00

Fabregas is our, and the PL's, leading assist maker this season but RvP with 7 is way ahead of the next in line Rosicky with 3. I am not sure that Eduardo's assists were directly related to his starting position but as long as he has the intelligence and vision to see that as part of his game uses the ability create for others, which his record for us and for Zagreb seems to confirm, then I don't think it's an aspect we need to be overly concerned about. Ideally we wouldn't want to change a winning formula but at least this time we aren't replacing a key player with an inexperienced kid. He'll do the job a little differently but he's more than capable of getting the job done. Whether he does so or not we're about find out.
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18/11/2009 08:56:00

Ah yes, in terms of chances that have been converted, but in terms of chances created, RvP is ahead, with Drogba 2nd and Cesc 3rd I believe. You're right and the fact that our front three is completely fluid anyway (you'd have to be blind not to have noticed that van Persie was occasionally shunted out to the left at varying points in games this season where Arshavin has started to flag physically), I guess I've got his asisst for Diaby against Pompey in mind, as well as one in the Birmingham game where he was out on the left flank, beat his man and put a cross in. Ideally, there would be nothing to stop Eduardo drifting out wide with AA coming in and vice versa. I don't doubt Eddie's ability to fill in, but rather worry that the team might drop points in very tough games we have coming up whilst we get used to a slight shift in style.
Little Dutch
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18/11/2009 09:06:00

I see your point about the number of chances created. I would hope that Eduardo's movement would help others up their creative stats but we'll see. I've got the picture of the assist that Eduardo provided for RvP in my mind, against Olympiakos I think. In a tight game he came up with the deftest of short passes perfectly weighted for RvP to score late in a tight game. It seems such a simple ball but not so many could execute it. It does all depend on the fluidity of the forward line but I don't think that Eduardo will inhibit that at all. He is such an intelligent player and whatever his starting position he plays in and around the box. I would have preferred things to have remained as they were but though I also share the concerns about enforced changes a little part of me is intrigued to see just what effect Eduardo could have. It may not be entirely negative.
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18/11/2009 09:44:00

FuiKaka, here's a link to Eboue's Eddie Murphy comment: // The thought of Silvestre at LB absolutely terrifies me, I'd even prefer a dodgy Traore there. Silvestre is just ok at CB, but at LB at Utd he made many silly errors and was a real liability to them.
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18/11/2009 14:41:00

Again Amos, not saying Eduardo can't create, but it's where he creates from. Almost all Eduardo's assists I've seen have been top of the box or out wide - generally lowish crosses or cut backs - whereas Robin creates from deep and at times is like having a second Cesc in the side. As LD said, my worry is not that he can't play the position so much as that the whole side will have to adapt to him playing it as he and RVP are very different players yet the central striker is really the focal point of this team.
Ozi Gooner
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18/11/2009 22:04:00

I'm a little more concerned about his finishing. I've rarely seen him missing one-on-ones, and I saw that two games in a row recently. Still a little rusty, I suppose. I have no doubt that he will fit into the system pretty quickly. Arshavin and Eduardo can keep inter changing positions. It will be interesting to see whether Wenger decides to fit Arshavin up top, and play Eduardo on the left for a game or two. That will be a good idea for me, we'll get more defensive cover down the left, and Eduardo can play himself back into form.
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19/11/2009 10:44:00


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