As the speculation of who will play and who won’t play this Saturday is not the thing on people’s mind, and of course, being Wednesday, there is a lot more time to think about the game on the weekend… In the meantime, we can spend a bit of time examining our squad, and for the players who haven’t performed at the level expected of them, we’ll be doing a new section called “The Jury’s Out”…
Today’s “Jury’s Out” is on Eduardo Da Silva, the Crozilian who was bought as Thierry Henry’s replacement. It pains me so much to see the decline of such a good player, as when Eduardo joined us, his first touch, his vision and his finishing were outstanding.
I remember that every time the player had a chance, he used to score – his accuracy was so high that when he missed the target, we were all in shock. I remember one quote from Arsene, let me share:
“He is growing towards that [fox in the box role]. I must say he has deservedly got rewarded because he had an outstanding December. If you look at the numbers he has 14 starts, 11 goals. That is top, top numbers for any striker anywhere in the world. It is exceptional. And what struck me on Sunday at Burnley was not the goal he did score, but the one he didn’t score. That shows you how big an improvement he has made in our minds because every time he is in front of the keeper you expect him to score now.”
That statement was said in January 2008, just a month before his horrific injury, and it was a statement hat we all believed in. His immediate impact was notable and when he was injured, it was hard to take for the player, the manager and the fans. He returned from his lengthy lay off with a bang scored against Burnley (including a wonder goal) and showing the rest of us that he wasn’t fazed and had come back. But then, the niggling injuries started – something we thought would only last until the end of last season, but in fact, has lasted most of this season.
It’s hard to understand whether or not Arsene has lost faith or trust in the striker, as even when fit, he’s had more bench time than most of the other players in the squad and when we have been stretched for firepower, it’s been players like Rosicky, Diaby and Eboue who have been chosen ahead of him. About a month ago, Arsene did say that he was returning to his best, but since that statement, we’ve not really seen any of him:
“I believe he is still on his way back. He is not completely yet where he was before but the signs are positive. He is getting better and better but I knew that it would take a long time. Don’t forget that he had a second surgery at the end of last season and that was decisive in getting him back to where he was before because the injury had affected his pace. After that he had a few muscle problems but now I feel him coming back. For a while he had not found his sharpness completely. However for the last two or three weeks in training he has been showing that he is back where he was before. But it took him a long time.”
Whether or not we will see any more of him before the season is out remains to be seen, but with Van Persie back and our formation leaning to having only one striker, it’s doubtful. If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ll probably have come across the rumour that Lyon are interested in the player and are preparing an £8m bid. This time last year, we would have laughed at that offer, but this time around, what should we do?
With Van Persie coming back and Chamakh likely to be signed, with Bendtner one of the manager’s favourite and Vela probably more suited to he left attacking role (the jury’s still out on him too), then how does Eduardo fit into the long term plans of the manager?
Has Eduardo lost his touch? Will he ever recover from his injury…?
The jury is out.