An overdue return to blogging sees me with a headache, a filled belly, and a Melbourne-induced satisfaction that’s left me quite smiley.
The new year started off with a comfortable 2-0 win for Arsenal at home against West Ham, with Eduardo opening the scoring sumptuously, and Adebayor putting us well ahead with a finish from 179.9 degrees, all within 20 minutes. Arsenal hit cruise control soon after, wrapping up an easy, largely eventless match with the 2-0 scoreline and a good three points.
The news between matches has been much of a sameness, with most revolving around the futures of Jens Lehmann and Lassana Diarra.
Diarra’s question was effectively thrown into dissarray after he failed to make the squad at all against Burnley in Arsenal’s first FA Cup fixture of the season. It was a typical David-Golliath cup match, only with Golliath carrying on his merry way come the end of it.
Burnley put up quite the fight though, with Lafferty heading against the bar as early as the fifth minute before Eduardo (again) put Arsenal ahead in the ninth. Spurred on by their home crowd, Burnley continued to make a fight of the match, only to have their challenge cruelly ended by a harsh straight-red for Lafferty, after he followed through a bit too much on a challenge on Gilberto. The pendulum eventually got stuck Arsenal’s way when Burnley’s backline impersonated the Red Sea, with Bendtner matching Eduardo’s clever through-ball with an equally intelligent run to round the keeper for 2-0.
The form of these two strikers is exceptionally encouraging. Bendtner had his off-day against Everton, but for a nineteen year old, he really is doing his utmost to keep his place in Arsenal’s cup teams, and push for that spot on the bench in the league. Both strikers have steadily formed a good partnership that could go places.
Of course, to throw around the broadbrush around like that would be a disservice to Eduardo, even with Bendtner’s exceptional-for-his-age performances. Eduardo has had his critics this season – I having burned his effigy several times – but it is near-undeniable how good he is looking in an Arsenal jumper these days.
Where once he was our most anonymous player, now he is the most subtle. Where once he failed to backtrack for his team, now he is picking out the players. Where once Arsenal were far too profligate in front of goal, now they take their chances and beat teams 4-1 while on the back foot.
I will be the first to say (in big bold letters), that I was too harsh ain my criticisms of Eduardo. With Arsenal fans waiting very patiently for the return of Robin van Persie, the form of Eduardo has been lethally exceptional, and along Adebayor, we have two exceptional strikers to serve us in van Persie’s absence. The best collection of strikers in the Premiership? Just ask A Cultured Left Foot.
Tomorrow night brings us the Carling Cup Semi Final First Leg against Tottenham Hotspur, and with Kolo Toure – here praising Eduardo on his form – amongst a few players out for the African Cup of Nations, we could be seing a mixed lineup of youth and experience. More on that tomorrow.
In other news, Fabregas has said there’s ‘more to come‘ from him this season, and Ian Wright has praised Eduardo (huzzah!) for his goalscoring form.
And with that, I must be off to catch up on some rest. I’ll leave you with the ‘I’m back, baby’s, and hope you had a pleasant New Years’ night, week, and all that jazz.
Au’voir for now.