As we approach the game at Birmingham this weekend, our thoughts return of the near career ending injury Eduardo sustained just over two years ago. His left fibula was broken and there was an open dislocation of his left ankle. Gary Lewin not only saved his career by his quick actions, but aided by translation from Gilberto, actually saved his leg.
His physical recovery was nothing short of remarkable. Who would have thought that just under a year later we would see him return in an Arsenal shirt against Cardiff City in the F.A. Cup? He scored twice that evening in what seemed a fairytale return. Sadly he suffered a hamstring injury later on in the game and after several niggling injuries in the following weeks finally returned to the Premier league line-up for the opening fixture of this season scoring in the 6-1 demolition of Everton at Goodison Park.
Was our fox in the box really back ? Well he has now played 29 times in all competitions (of which 13 were as subs) for a return of six goals, so we are in a position to assess his progress.
He is hard to weigh up as a character as he has a quiet disposition and never shows much emotion, but the more I see him play, the more he appears to have lost that edge to his game which was just developing before he got injured. In fact, I would suggest that mentally he has lost the sharpness that Arsène identified when he signed him, and it is becoming more and more apparent as each game passes. He frequently jumps out of tackles - but can you blame him? Surely it is in the makeup of any decent striker to avoid impact when it is apparent that they can’t win the ball. I don’t see him attacking the ball in the box as once he did and the goalscorer’s hunger to score at any cost is missing.
Is his perceived loss of sharpness due to a lack of match fitness or as I believe is more likely, down to the legacy of the mental scars from his horrific injury.
I want him to succeed, but with a new striker in Chamakh apparently joining us in the Summer we may never see the potential of Eduardo again.