Monday, February 25, 2008

More news on Eduardo's injury, and send your messages of support to him.

Good Morning (just) one and all.

What a thoroughly appalling weekend. Eduardo's injury, Clichy's mistake, United spanking Newcastle and then a Carling Cup Final in which it was almost impossible to decide who I wanted to lose more. I was somehow hoping that the game would be abandoned and no trophy awarded, but to no avail.

Anyway, let's move on.

The latest news on Eduardo's injury is somewhere between promising and worrying. Slavan Bilic (who seems a really top guy, I must say) had this to say about the injury:

'He will certainly return. It is not as bad as it looked, but it is not as light as it was presented when they said that only a fibula broke. That is not an injury that can not be healed, but the more serious problem is that Dudu has an open joint breakage. The doctor that operated on him is content with the way that he reconstructed the ligaments. An important factor in all of this is the psychological recovery. Many players have had fears after returning from serious injuries, but knowing Eduardo, and I know him very well, he is everything but a soft guy. He has gone through various hardships in his career, and I do not doubt that he will return.'

So, it doesn't appear it's a double compound fracture, only a single, but there is still a huge amount of soft tissue damage that may complicate matters. The mere fact the bone pierced through his skin massively increases the chance of infection. Whatever happens, the rehabilitation will be slow, and news is only going to trickle out about this.

Eduardo deserves to get better. He's not only a fantastic player, but, from every account I've read of his personality, he's a fantastic person. Slavan Bilic described him as 'like a son', such was his affection for him.

The only thing we as fans can do at the moment is send our messages of support to him, and the club have set up the following service to let us do this. Alternatively you can click here to mail him.

If you wish to contact him by more traditional means, I'm told messages should be forwarded to him if you write to:

Eduardo da Silva

c/o Arsenal FC, Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, London, N5 1BU.

It also seems that I'm not the only one who has taken Dudu's injury as an additional incentive towards winning the league this year.

Til later.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Let's win the league for Eduardo, even if we couldn't win today.

First and foremost, my thoughts, and those of all the Arsenal supporting community are with Eduardo. In all my years of watching football, it's not only the worst injury I've seen an Arsenal player sustain, but one of the worst injuries I've seen any player suffer. This isn’t just a case of hoping that he’ll be back soon, but whether he’ll be back at all. I sincerely hope he is because he’s a great player and person, and doesn’t deserve to have his career ended by some shit-kicker like Martin Taylor. And as you can see above, his tackle was awful and intentional.

For those of you who want to see exactly how bad it is, there is a link here. I warn you, these photos are not for the faint hearted, but unless you see them (and the one above) it may not be possible to fully appreciate quite what a horrific injury this is, and also the clear intent to hurt Eduardo that Martin Taylor had:


Some of you might think Arsene is overreacting in calling for a lifetime ban, but it's easy to see why Arsene is so upset. We’ve been subjected to a plurality of awful challenges this season, as too many teams still think that the way to deal with us is by kicking us. It was, as Arsene points out, only a matter of time before someone was hurt in this way. For McCleish to come out and say ‘he’s not usually this type of player’ is irrelevant; he was that type of player today and he might have ended a fellow professional’s career.

The rest of the game was largely overshadowed by the challenge, and our players barely kept it together for the rest of the first half. It was almost inevitable that Birmingham would score, and they did. Question marks could be asked over Almunia’s goalkeeping, and he was poor overall today.

But the safety of the dressing room obviously did the players the world of good, and they positively exploded in the opening minutes of the second half. Two great goals for Theo, who will have to step up for the rest of the season given the injuries to our forward line.

We should have comfortably finished the game off, and Adebayor and Hleb were particularly guilty of wasting chances. Did Ade see Bendtner in the two on one situation? Perhaps a little bit too greedy.

The price of wasting our mountain of chances was allowing Birmingham to always be within one kick of squaring the match. And, of course, they did. Clichy, who’s an excellent season, made an awful error, again trying to be over clever when a quick hoof of the ball would have sufficed.

Birmingham got a point they didn’t deserve, and Gallas very publicly sulked. While it’s nice to see that level of passion, it shouldn’t have happened in public. Not actions that were very becoming of a captain.

Overall then, a horrible game. Given the undoubted shock that many of the team were suffering, it’s good to get any points from the match, but to dominate the game in that way and not pick up all the points is a bit sickening.

But not as sickening as the challenge on Edu. So, if we needed any further incentive, let’s win the league for Eduardo. I want to see him on the podium in May as a symbol that you can’t kill real football, no matter how hard you kick your opponent.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The St Valentine's Day Massacre.

Ok, so it isn't actually St Valentine's day, but it's near enough to make a vaguely amusing headline.

What a dismal performance; what an affront to 9,000 Gooners who travelled up North.

Arsene appears to like thin squads, and these have their virtues. They build team coherency and self-belief among players. Yet for, at least, the third year in a row, we've been too thin at a crucial point in the season.

A case in point: Gilberto. Gilberto is gone; his head and body are no longer in the right state to play against top-level teams. Yet, we not only let a top-class replacement leave - Diarra - which was perhaps forgiveable given his desire to leave, we also don't sign a replacement. This leaves one less player of quality in the squad, and a player, in Gilberto, who was dominated by Darren Fletcher. Yes, Darren Fletcher.

We're also left, beneath Sagna and Clichy, with two full backs who aren't up to it. Hoyte and Traore were completely outplayed by Nani and Ji-Sung Park today. Whilst Traore might improve, Hoyte probably won't, and these issues need to be resolved. The defence as a whole was abysmal; just as in the Spuds game there was no coherency and, apart from Gallas, no fight. Jens actually did well to keep the score down to four.

But what was most dispiriting today was the complete lack of fight and resolve we showed. The players seemed to be almost subconsciously saving themselves for the AC match, which is unacceptable. In football, you should win the game in front of you, not the next one in your head. If you're picked, you give it your all. United showed that desire today, and also showed that some of their second string is considerably better than ours. While I think we should beat them to the title, questions could be asked as to why Fergie seems to be able to construct larger squads than Arsene, and keeps them together.

We can say it was only the FA Cup, but it wasn't just the FA Cup the last couple of times we won it. The FA Cup has fallen way behind the league and Europe, largely due to the money involved, but it's a cup that a lot of fans care about. With Liverpool going out, a win today could have opened up the way to the final. Frankly, it's a missed opportunity.

Just to complete this tale of woe, a word on Eboue. Should he play for Arsenal again? He seemed to be improving before Christmas, and then he decides to challenge for the ball with his leg at a horizontal angle, 5 feet off the floor. What an idiot. And problematically, he doesn't appear to be learning from his mistakes. His was absent in the first half today as much as in the second. Perhaps Theo should get a run, for his confidence at least. He could surely do no worse.

So, and whatever way you look at it, it's another hammering in a game by one of our biggest rivals. We can say this games don't matter, but by putting in some abject performances, we're making them matter, perhaps ironically.

Here's hoping things improve by Wednesday.