From the Sublime Eduardo to the ridiculous Bendtner…

Rarely since moving to the Emirates have I witnessed such an united outpouring of emotion from fans and players alike. The way that Eduardo’s name was cheered when it was announced on the public address system made the hairs stand up upon the back of my neck. I hoped that I was to witness something special, and I was not to be disappointed. Enduring all of those painful months of recovery could not have prepared this plucky Croatian for the intense joy greeting his return to the first team squad. His name rang around the stadium, EDD- DUARDO… EDD-DUARDO, like a incantation of religious devotion, I could swear that I felt the stadium seat resonate in approval.
Cardiff City were always going to be a side show following this, and in the sixteen days since they last kicked a competitive football, the dust had clearly settled on their playing instincts. This was a shadow of the former team that held the gunners to a draw at Ninian Park. It was fully 57 minutes into the game before Gunners keeper Fabianski had to make a decent save. The vociferous Cardiff support was finally silenced at one point as they too had to pay homage to the Croatian wizard.
The pre game media mischief has included the Daily Mirror alleging that Niklas Bendtner had claimed to be Arsenal’s best striker, a phrase that I am confident must have been the invention of some stupid copy journalist, but his quotes that he should play “every minute of every game” smacked of the Danish arrogant pride before a fall. Here was the opportunity to show everyone how good he was. To let his his football do the talking. I recall criticising Niklas Bendtner in a blog by saying that his misses made Adebayor look good, and that my friends is what happened last night.
Arsenal’s lack of goals has hurt the team this season. Bendtner himself should have taken goals that would have beaten Burnley in the Carling Cup and here before just over 57,000 fans he contrived to miss open goals and straight forward chances that my granny could have converted.  Methinks that the final ridiculous miss at the end of the first half when the Cardiff goal keeper parried a short range shot from Carlos Vela out to the on coming Dane, will be forever associated with Bendtner. He will now at last have to spend more hours on the training ground choosing the right attitude to striking as opposed to choosing the colour of his boots.
But the only reason that I have taken such a pop at one of our own players, is because of the pent up frustration I feel of what might have been had certain players delivered of their expectation. Enough of Bendtner…  Eduardo is the real deal. He was courageous in the tackle, still clearly not as fit as he wanted to be as he bent double at one point with his hands upon his thighs, sucking in the night air to recover from a gut bursting run. His first goal followed a lovely interchange of passes between himself and Carlos Vela. The rapid Mexican darted at an angle towards the goal line on the left flank and from ten yards from goal, he floated a wonderfully weighted chip almost inch perfect onto the grateful awaiting head of Eduardo, who had run to the near post almost like playing a one two passing movement.
As the ball struck the back of the net and Eduardo wheeled away in delight and slid to his knees as the emotion took over every Gooner heart. I swear a tear came to my eye, as we all celebrated his return to the Red and White. This was vintage Eddy and it was a sight for sore eyes. His next goal was a penalty, after he himself had been pushed over by a Cardiff defender in the second half. He immediately grabbed the ball, and took almost a fifteen yard run up before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net, having sent the keeper the wrong way. He ran towards the Arsenal bench, and throwing off the adulations of his team mates, he sought out and embraced Tony Colbert the fitness coach at the Arsenal who must have helped so much through out those gloomy months of painful recovery.
I have written this match report to try and convey the atmosphere that we all had the pleasure to witness last night. Our team played some beautiful football at times, and in fairness to Niklas Bendtner, he played his part by lots of aggressive running off the ball. Song was supreme in midfield, and despite their off the field differences, the centre back pairing of Toure and Gallas looked incredibly solid and united. Vela did not shine as much as I had expected him to but he was still a dangerous asset to have on the field of play. The four nil scoreline should have been seven nil but who could really complain upon a night that saw the return of our Croatian striker. A fairy tale with a return that is only scripted in Hollywood came true last night. I am still wiping away the mists from my eyes… Eduardo, I am so happy for you, and thank goodness you are back. Well Done!
Fabregas the King.

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