Eduardo Da Silva, fondly known by Arsenal football fans as Dudu was born in Brazil in February 1983.
Despite growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Dudu chose to represent Croatia in International Football. His international football
holds little interest for me, its Arsenal so lets stick to talking about his career with us. As so many have said recently,
we pay the players wages, not the country they play for.
The ‘stand out’ club he played for in his youth days was Dinamo Zagreb, the same club he stayed with right up until he signed for us
in 2007. Whilst at Zagreb he had a season loan 2002-03, and suffered a few niggly injuries. (that’s what probably clinched his move to us) 😉
When he arrived at Arsenal he bought with him a pretty good career record – named the best player of the Croatian league in 2004 as well as in 2006 and 2007, he had been one of the key players in Dinamo Zagreb’s team that won two consecutive titles in the Croatian league as well as one title in the Croatian Cup. In 2006, he also helped Dinamo winning the Croatian Supercup, scoring two goals in their 4–1 victory over Rijeka. Funny enough he was the footballer that scored the first European goal at The Emirates – it was the only goal that night for him and his team, they got whooped 5-1 by his soon to be new team!
During the 2006-2007 season, which was to be his last at Zagreb also turned into his best season at the club, no doubt it was this that caught the eye of Arsene Wenger and his scouts. Eduardo played 18 games before the winter break, scoring 18 goals along the way. Not bad eh? By the end of the same season he had totalled 32 goals in 32 appearances, breaking a thirteen year old record previously held by Goran Vlaović. Dudu also became the first player to a hat-rick for Zagreb against local rivals Hajduk Split – when I say local rivals, what I really mean is those three goals he scored were a bit like scoring three for us against the Spuds…
My thinking is that was the season he was being watched by us, and what a season to play like he did, he had more than convinced Arsenal he was a top striker and the following season, having had a work permit granted following an appeal, he squeezed his big bum into a pair of Arsenal Shorts, along with the shorts he was given the No9 shirt to wear. We had our fox in the box, our centre forward we craved for…. Didn’t we???
Eduardo made his Premier League debut on 19 August 2007, a 1-1 draw with Blackburn, ten days later we faced Sparta Prague in a Champions League qualifier. Dudu scored his first goal in a 3-0 win, he went on to score another in the group stages against Seville. He was fighting to gain a regular place in the first team in the league, but continued to show his goalscoring abilities in the Carling Cup, scoring a couple of goals in two consecutive matches against Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers.
Soon is chance came, Robin van Persie picked up an injury which kept him out for a long while, Dudu then slotted in alongside a tall striker, a bit of a lazy git whose name I can’t remember!! 😉
In the February of 2008, still in his first season with us, Martin Taylor of Birminham ensured we wouldn’t get to see Eduardo in action for a long long time…. After a late crunching tackle made by Taylor, Eduardo suffered a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle.
In my humble opinion, not only did this tackle ruin his season, to this day it seems as if may very well have ruined his career!
We all know what happened during that game, that game had a massive impact on all of the team, we fell away in our hunt for the title……
In January 2009, Eduardo told afc.com he was ready to return, ready for first team football, in February he made that comeback for Arsenal, scoring two goalsin a 4-0 victory over Cardiff.
But since then, each time he plays he seems to suffer a set back, he doesn’t look sharp and his shooting boots seem to be very far away from his feet. We have seen him miss easy chances to score, miss chances that the old Eduardo would have taken as easy as nicking candy from a baby.
This weekend the club take a trip back to the ground that haunted them during the 2007/08 season when we were looking so strong. It is also the first time that Eduardo returns to face a side that nearly ended his career.
We are up against a side who’s own form has taken a dip, they sit 9th in the table right now so the game won’t be a walk over. This game, like the same fixture in 2008 will have a big say in our season, win it and we will build the momentum, lose and it could all be over. The latter though I don’t expect to happen, even without our two first choice CH’s, I think we will win comfortably.
So, you are Arsene Wenger – Do you start Eduardo or Don’t you????
I am unsure what I would do, but I would involve him in the game at some stage, it may just maybe that on Saturday, Eduardo Da Silva can finally bury the ghosts that seem to be currently haunting his football career….