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Look for the Silva lining

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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Date:Tuesday November 17 2009
Time: 1:30AM


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.
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!!!
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...
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
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
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?!
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!
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.
17/11/2009 09:54:00
i really do think that people tend to overlook eduardo's ability @missing one on one's
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.
17/11/2009 10:53:00
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