I did not see the match but those who did must have the same sickened reaction to Eduardo's shattered leg. From what I gather, Eduardo aka Dudu is out for about half a year at best, at the very worst, he may not play again. On Monday he turns 25. For a young team, to play on after the nature of Dudu's injury, was a stern test of their mettle. Cesc was visibly shaken up. And yet they could have won if it had not been for that horrible call by Mike Dean on Clichy as time expired. This has been a tough, tough week for Arsenal.
A compound fracture of the tibia- fibula requires open reduction and internal fixation followed by a slow, painful rehabilitation process that takes months. Complications like nerve and arterial damage could slow down recovery. Dudu's youth, his fitness, and his motivational levels are in his favour but this will be a real challenge.
Dudu's injury has shocked not just Arsenal fans but Croatia as well which now has to play the Euro without their best striker. He was second only to David Healey in Euro qualifier scoring. Coach Slaven Bilic is putting a brave face on all of this as he now has to reassess his depth chart. He and Robert Prosenecki are due to visit Dudu next week.
Dudu came into Arsenal with big shoes to fill, namely Thierry Henry. It was a huge moment for him and his club, Dinamo Zagreb who had won the title after he set the season record for the number of goals scored in the Croatian league. He was the biggest transfer in club history and they were understandably proud that one of their own had hit the big leagues.
Dudu had a slow start in the Premiership, his tiny frame overshadowed by the more robust defenders. For a while he struggled to score. But he came into his own with that beautiful goal against Everton, where he turned Jagielka outside in. He was on a roll after that with six goals in four game and a growing reputation as a fox in the box with his speed and quick thinking. It was a good time to score as Fabregas after his promising output, failed to score. He was also getting into the game with his crisp passing. Senderos and Rosicky were beneficiaries of his assists. Ade's more measured game and aerial ability, went perfectly in tandem with his quickness, and they made a good strike pair.
Alex McLeish and Steve Bruce have come to the defense of Martin Taylor. The usual he would not hurt a fly crap. But Taylor also played for Blackburn for a number of years where brute strength is cherished. This tackle was pre-meditated. Eduardo's speed proved too much for Taylor and he came flying in with his studs up. It would have been just another dirty tackle but the combination of the orientation of the tackle, its force, and Eduardo's planted foot, contributed to his leg snapping like a twig. A red card is the least Taylor deserved. He should be suspended.
Dudu's departure really puts a crimp on Arsenal's plans and now the gaffer has to deal pairing Ade with Nicholas Bendtner. This is a problem. We have already seen a number of occasions where both have been loath giving off the ball to the other in goal scoring opportunities. Hleb as a withdrawn striker with Ade up front has also proven less effective. Van Persie maybe back in a couple of weeks but his minutes are questionable and it will be a while before he can play a whole game. On a more positive note Theo Walcott scored his first Premiership goals. But Walcott has proven inconsistent and whether this inspires him remains to be seen.
No one would have given Arsenal a shot with Henry's transfer and Van Persie's frequent injuries but Dudu's emergence gave us some invaluable goals and made Ade's load a lot lighter. I am gutted with this loss. My prayers for a speedy recovery and a return to the playing field.