Do or Don’t for Dudu?

March 27, 2010

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!!  😉

HOWEVER…

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….

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First trophy in the bag, Vermaelen wants to learn from the old boys…..

March 25, 2010

Having battered the Spuds 10-0 on the way to this final, the Ladies faced Milwall in the London County Cup Final on Tuesday night. The Ladies went ahead after twelve minutes through Helen Lander but then went off the boil a bit before half time. Milwall had many chances to nab an equaliser, but failed to take any of them.

Following a half time talking to the story about the rest of game was so very different.

Three goals in six minutes early in the second half effectively secured the trophy. Kim Little grabbed two in quick succession and Helen Lander doubled her own tally in the 57th minute.

With seventeen minutes left on the clock, Jennifer Beattie header home a fifth goal before an own goal by Milwall completed a very convincing victory.

Poor old Milwall, that’s the fourth time in a row they have been beaten by the Arsenal Ladies in the final of this competition.

Could this be the first trophy of three for the Ladies, I think so.. All we need now is for the men to carry on what they have started…

Yesterday I posted about the interview with Arshavin, it seems that from the interview he did with AFC.com, the good old red tops turned it into him saying that we won’t win anything becuase we don’t have enough players – how they got thre I am not sure.

Thomas Vermaelen has spoken with AFC.com – this is what he had to say about life in the defence…

“I can learn a lot from Sol,” said the Belgian international. “He speaks a lot on the pitch and for young players and a young team it is important to have somebody with a lot of experience who talks a lot on the pitch.”

Before Gallas was forced out of the team by his calf injury, the Frenchman had partnered Vermaelen at centre-back in every League game this season.

Thomas has enjoyed a superb first term at Arsenal and believes Gallas has contributed towards that.
“He is a great player for the team and for me,” he said. “If he plays next to me it makes it easier for me.

“But he is not there at the moment and we have other centre-backs like Mikael Silvestre and Sol. They are both experienced and it is really good to play with them.”

Vermaelen is an outstanding defender, the best we have right now and the best we have had for quite a while. His attitude is spot on though, he may be great at what he does, but he isn’t afraid of admitting he can learn from Big Sol.

I am sure his reference to Silvestre was just him being nice 😉

A great professional in life is always willing to learn no matter what profession they are in – Our own Thomas Vermaelen is a true example of just that…..

Have a good day all, lets hope Nikki B gets over his little injury in time to face Birmingham…


Arshavin and a couple of top cooks…..

March 24, 2010

Yesterday I read that Emirates Stadium Head Chef Julian Jenkins and Head Chef of the Diamond Club Oleg Ibragimov have scooped Gold at the British Open Cookery Championships 2010 – not sure if that was for the making of prawn sandwichs though!

In Master Chef fashion they had one hour to cook two courses, Julian prepared the starter of Cornish crab and organic red pepper cannelloni with marinated beetroot, young shoots and major lobster foam. Oleg’s main course was Best end of Southdown lamb with puy lentils, shallot puree, fondant potato and mint infused major veal jus.

None of that would be something I would eat, but hey ho they convinced the judges. That will be another pound or two added to the price of food at The Emirates then…..

Another bit of news was about Vermaelen which we all know, but I am just glad he didn’t get an extra game added on, now he can have a well earned rest before the ‘B’ game next Wednesday. If anyone deserves a rest, he does.

The little man from Russia has been talking again, thankfully this time it is to afc.com and its all good – this is what he had to say about one of my favourite players!!

“Obviously it has helped us having Bendtner back, he creates more space for the players behind him, and that offers us more time and possibilities to do something special. It helps me personally of course. And he’s good in the air – he wins a lot of balls that way and through this we can gain even more possession.

“We can play differently with him in the side – when I am playing centrally we can use only low balls, but with Nick up front we have the opportunity to play higher balls and balls in behind, varying things a bit more.

“His goals have been welcome. He’s in good form and has shown that he has the instinct for a chance – not that many teams make as many chances as we do!”

See, I have always said Nikki B would come good!! 😉 😉

Other mixed bag of news, The Football Association have announced the eight clubs that were successful with their applications to be part of the new FA Women’s Super League, launching in March 2011. The main team of course is the Arsenal Ladies.

Not so good for the reserves though, they were beaten at home by West Ham 2-0, we had the chances, but just couldn’t take them. Fabianski turned out for the reserves, not the result he would have wanted I’m sure.

Thats it folks – have a good day, not long until Saturday…