Arsenal 4 – 0 Cardiff
Eduardo 20, Bendtner 34, Eduardo 60 pen, Van Persie 89.
Yesterday marked the return of the awesome Crozilian, Eduardo, to the starting XI and he couldn’t have had a better come back.
The line up saw Van Persie rested with Eduardo and Bendtner starting up front. The midfield consisted of Nasri on the right and Vela on the left with Denilson and Song in the middle. Johan Djourou exited the warm up, ill, so Toure and Gallas were paired together with Sagna and Gibbs on either side and Fabianski in goal.
The signs were there from the word “go”. This team meant business. Eduardo looked like he was so glad to be on the pitch. He looked every inch the player that was last seen against Birmingham last year. Bendtner looked like he had a point to prove and little old Mexican Carlos Vela’s twinkle toes were in full action. With Samir Nasri starting a little deeper, the formation resembled a bit more of a 4-3-3 at times. Don’t get me wrong, Nasri got forward enough, but the side was balanced and it was an exciting side. With Vela and Nasri we can pace and skill on the wings, which put Cardiff on the back foot from the beginning of the game. Vela, Nasri, Eduardo and Bendtner coupled with Denilson have a lot of flicks and tricks and it made for an entertaining game.
The moment we have all been waiting for took about 20 minutes – some incisive play by the front players saw Eduardo pass out wide to Vela who cross back in for Eduardo to head his first goal into the back of the net. A goal that breathed emotion though the crowd, even if you weren’t at the ground. All Arsenal fans saw and watched in awe as Eduardo slid on the form and gave Vela a wry smile… “I’m back, it read” and all fans suddenly had a glaze on their eyes. Girls let a tear go, men just gulped. It was emotional.
The dominance continued and about 15 minutes later, Bendtner, from a corner, headed in to make it 2-0. I’m glad Bendtner got his goal, because the amount of chances he missed were amazing – if you watch the highlights, check out the one when Vela spun and shot and Bendtner had two goal scoring opportunities from about 5 yards and was unable to convert.
The second half saw more of the same, we went forward with venom and defended with unity. We did have a few penalty appeals turned down before finally the ref pointed to the spot – it was actually a little harsh on the Cardiff defender – but Eduardo got up and duly tucked away his second of the night. Smiles all round. Before the Crozilian could get his hat trick, he was replaced by Van Persie – a standing ovation. The Dutchman almost had an immediate entrance shooting wide and then setting up Bendtner. But RVP got his goal one minute from time with an excellent right footed shot.
Arsene spoke on the game and Eduardo’s return:
“I am not surprised he played well tonight. I didn’t play him as a reward for his excellent work; it was because in training over the past few weeks he has done extremely well. He made a big step forward two weeks ago when he found sharpness in front of goal and in his runs and he got rid of his apprehension in the tackles. Of course it is nearly 12 months out and he has been extremely strong mentally during that time, I could never see one minute of doubt in his mind or one minute where he said ‘no, I don’t want to do it’. He always wanted more and this guy is small but has the mental strength of a mountain. He is intelligent, talented and he understands what is happening quickly. He responds very quickly to every situation. That is why he is a striker. He is a quiet boy. He is very, very quiet – he is focussed but of course very happy tonight.
“I think Tony Colbert has spent more time with Eduardo than with his wife. So perhaps he deserves that kind of hug. The physios and doctors have as well done a tremendous job with him. We use him when he is ready but they did a lot of work with him and have done a great job. We will know how important this was at the end of the season. I am very happy to have him back because he gives us options. He can play on flank, he can play central, he can play on the shoulder or upfront on his own. It is fantastic for us.
“I still have to be cautious with him and I cannot throw him in every three days after nine months. We will see how he responds to that hamstring and maybe he can be with us on Saturday, I don’t know. Of course everybody’s happy for him but I believe it was a good team performance; dynamic, convincing and mobile. We played the kind of football we love to play and it is good to see us play with handbrake off. We are now consistent, we are stable defensively, and we added tonight our drive going forward. We played the game we want to play and Eduardo played a big part in that. Everybody is of course pleased for him tonight.”
Amazing words from Arsene, and an amazing return for the Crozilian.
Well done Dudu!
Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Gibbs, Nasri (Ramsey 67), Denilson, Song Billong, Vela (Bischoff 74), Eduardo (Van Persie 67), Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Wilshere, Clichy.
Booked: Gallas, Bendtner.
Goals: Eduardo 20, Bendtner 34, Eduardo 60 pen, Van Persie 89.
Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Purse (Blake 68), Roger Johnson, Kennedy, Burke, Rae (Scimeca 74), Ledley, Parry (Whittingham 68), Bothroyd, McCormack.
Subs Not Used: Sak, Capaldi, Eddie Johnson, Comminges.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).]]>