Eduardo the joker in the pack?

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After scoring three goals in his last two league games, Eduardo da Silva is very much the toast of Arsenal supporters at the moment.

Eduardo’s form is good news for ArsenalThe Croatian striker netted his first Premiership goals for Arsenal in the 4-1 comeback victory away to Everton and carried on his smart form with another just two minutes into the New Year’s Day clash against West Ham United. Despite the fact that Eduardo has now scored ten goals in all competitions this season most football observers would agree that the first six months with his new club have been relatively underwhelming. But with the first league goal monkey now off his back the Brazilian-born Croatian has spoken out about his delight and predicted that there will be much more to come after being given time to settle into life at Arsenal.

“‘It was really important to score my first goals in the Premier League. It meant a lot and now I think everything will get better and come more easily. I know how Arsenal works – bringing players in and giving them time to blend into their surroundings.”

I can’t stress how important Eduardo’s contribution over the Christmas period has been to Arsenal. Each of his three goals have been expertly taken but it is the timing of the goals – when both games were well and truly on – that is an even more encouraging aspect. With Nicklas Bendtner not quite taking his chance, Robin van Persie still injured and the 4-5-1 formation not quite clicking, the emergence of Eduardo as a second striker alongside Emmanuel Adebayor has proved invaluable to Arsenal regaining both their position at the top of table and their confidence.

What is most interesting about Eduardo’s recent flourish – and I briefly alluded to this in yesterday’s post – is that it has come exactly six months since signing for the club. Arsene Wenger has quite often spoken about foreign players needing a half-year period to acclimatise to the demands of the Premiership and it’s pleasing to see that Eduardo has fired a significant reminder that his development is well on track. It’s clear by his comments about new players at Arsenal being given ‘time to blend into their surroundings’ that Eduardo has never felt too pressured by his less than impressive form up until this point, and Wenger and the club as well as the player himself deserve full credit for this attitude.

I had Eduardo as one of the players (along with Philippe Senderos) who had had a poor couple of months in the latest issue of the Gooner Gazette and also suggested that Arsenal fans would have to wait a little bit longer for the Croatian to work his way into some form. It’s exciting to think that this wait may now be over. Indeed, Eduardo may well prove to be the joker in the pack for the second half of the season as Wenger and his side continue to chase silverware on all four fronts.

Lehmann looks set to move back to DortmundLehmann move edging closer

Turning attention to the January transfer window now and it seems that out of favour goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is getting closer to a move to former club Borussia Dortmund. The German club is reportedly set to hold a press conference on Friday to discuss their goalkeeping dilemma (regular first-choice keeper Roman Weidenfeller is out for three months with a serious shoulder problem) and the evidence is starting to mount up that Lehmann will leave Arsenal very soon. Despite the news Arsene Wenger remains tight-lipped and suggested that nothing will be confirmed until any deal is completed.

“Jens Lehmann at the moment has not made up his mind. Once he has made up his mind that he wants to go, we will see. I will be sorry to see him go but I don’t want to take him out of the team and stop him from playing in the European Championship.”

It’s a fair call from the manager but I really can’t see any other outcome then Lehmann heading off to Germany in the next couple of weeks. He’s been told time and time again by German national team manager Joachim Low that if he wants to play for his country at Euro 2008 then he needs to be playing games and with Manuel Almunia in the form of his life at the moment the fact is that he’s just not going to get that at Arsenal.

Interestingly, despite the transfer speculation, Wenger has revealed that Lehmann will be in the Arsenal starting lineup for the FA Cup game against Burnley on Saturday afternoon. The manager indicated that he will playing a mix of first and second-string players with the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final against Tottenham, which is played just three days later, in mind.

“I think Jens Lehmann will be involved. But Kolo Toure, Eboue and Sagna will all play. A few of the players who featured all over Christmas will be rested and a few will come in. It will be a mixture.”

Wenger suggested after the West Ham game that Gael Clichy and William Gallas would be rested so with that in mind I would predict a defence of Sagna, Song, Toure and Traore, with Lehmann of course taking his place in goals behind. In midfield I would presume both Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas to start, flanked by Emmanuel Eboue and Tomas Rosicky. Up front I’m expecting Eduardo to start with Alexander Hleb in behind. As far as I know Bendtner will be available again after serving his one-game suspension but I think Wenger will be saving him for the clash with Tottenham. Adebayor has a slight muscle problem and is unlikely to feature in either game while van Persie will not be ready until at least the Birmingham game on January 12.

For those who don’t know much about Arsenal’s opponents Burnley (myself included), there’s a nice little wrap-up of what problems they might pose for Wenger’s side that you can find here. In all reality though, this should be quite a routine encounter and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsenal put a few goals past the Championship side. More tomorrow.

What do you think?

Have your say on Eduardo, Lehmann or Burnley by leaving a comment.


16 thoughts on “Eduardo the joker in the pack?

  1. Eduardo is now in sparkling form his space reading and positioning is exellent,is a valuable asset in arsenal i must say who knows one day one time he be world class player.

  2. I think sometimes unhealthy expectations are placed on players the moment they transfer. All things considered, players adapting as quickly as Sagna are a rarity, and I for one am willing to wait however long it takes for eduardo to be the goal scoring machine we all know he can be. I personally think that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Based on the past months, my feeling is that he is a streaky player. That makes up for his consistency with a perfect sense of timing for when to get on fire. It seems that on some occasions he can do no better than be a dummy for defender to pull away from other players (which has its own merits I guess) and at others he just knows how to be at the right place at the right time. I doubt this will happen, but a situtation with V.Persie, Ade & Eduardo upfront, could truly be awesome to behold. They each bring their own qualities, that i think in the long run could compliment each other

  3. I think that’s a wonderful lesson in patience you are telling there Raul. It’s strange when people get straight on the back of players when they don’t perform after a transfer – particularly ones like Eduardo who are making a massive step up. It’s great to see his showing some positive signs. Just on your comment about Adebayor and Eduardo as a partnership, I have said time and time again that they seem made for each other. Van Persie is obviously the first choice but it’s great to know that should he succumb to injury again there is a nice little partnership that could form in no time at all. To think we have Bendtner as well is just great!

  4. WHAT ABOUT DIARRA? Perhaps he will leave Arsenal!!! Or is he injured?? This is the sort of match where he should play, because he is really a good midfielder.

  5. Firstly Diarra, he left Chelsea for Arsenal becuase he wasn’t getting first team starts. Did he think he could get past Essien, Mikel, Lampard, J.Cole, SWP. Now at Arsenal he is moaning about the same thing. At Arsenal he ahs to beat Flamini, Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky, Diaby. He is a talented player but he has to understand and be patient. Fabregas, Alaidiere, Bendtner and Bentley were all in our Carling Cup run and now they play important roles in their teams respectively. Secondly Lehmann, I believe he should leave due to the fact the team will be more settled. Arsenal need thwir changing room free of uncomfortable and unhappiness. Lehmann is creating both. Great keeper in the past, i am really grateful for what he has done and won for us, but it is time to move on. Lastly, Eduardo, Great in last couple of games, he will hit 20+ goals next season, he already has 10 this season. I was debating with my friend, who is a liverpool fan, about who is better Eduardo or Torres. I said Torres and he agreed. But I then said next season, Eduardo will be better, then he said Torres has scored 15 goals this season already! and I go Torres starts evry game, Eduardo has scored 10 goals and he plays under half the amount of games Torres does. SO does that make Edurado better! He is defo an unsung hero (Eduardo) or he was, hes not anymore. Please tell me if i am right!

  6. People keep going on about his disappointing first half to the season. What?! He was scoring roughly a goal for every 2 appearances even before the last few games. Considering the fact that he rarely ever played, when he did it was often as a late sub, and half the time he played on the left wing (where he appears to be shit) I can’t see wtf everyone’s talking about. Eduardo is all about goals, and he’s consistently given us those since day 1 when he’s actually been played up front.

  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you played van Nistelrooy on the wing he wouldn’t score or play anything like as well in all probability, and he is who Eduardo arguably has most in common with.

  8. That is a very interesting comment there Ryan and one that I do agree with also. Not the comparison with Nistelrooy but if you put a striker who could be fantastic upfront, he will do his job and get goals whereas if you play him on the wing then he is not going to as well!

  9. hey i’m crazy for arsenal i love the team and i want to say that the bench is the real place for lehmann only almunia or maybe fabianski can keep our goal. FABREGAS the best and i realy adore the game of Denilson and Walcott.Find some for Gallas we need some change like this because now eboue toure and Song are leaving

  10. Diarra who? 🙂 Seriously think this guy is overrated.

    ps. I know it’s off topic, but how good is that Australian Cricket team! 🙂

  11. Haha Darragh you absolute bevan. The thing is, after watching them belt so many teams over the years I rarely actually support them. They’re so bloody arrogant – I was actually hoping India would draw! Bloody Clarkey.

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