Fans had turned out at Underhill in droves hoping to witness the man who is charged with saving our season. He’s fought his way back from the brink of retirement and now he is ready to take on the world. As he took his first steps on to the pitch, the atmosphere was electric. This is it: a new dawn, a new beginning.
Yes, that’s right. Amaury Bischoff came on.
Joking aside, last night was all about Eduardo. The Croatian played 45 minutes in a 2-0 win and looked as good as one could possibly hope. A few more games under his belt and he’ll be ready for first-team action. His return is a testament to the hard work that he and the medical staff have put in, and the first time he puts the ball in the net again would take the roof off the Emirates – if it had one.
Eduardo was part of a strong Reserve side captained by young Gavin Hoyte, who has just signed a new long-term deal with the club. One would expect that to be followed by a loan move to a Championship club in January.
The goals last night came from two other potential loanees: Mark Randall, who tucked home after a delicious through-ball from Fran Merida, and Kieran Gibbs, who smashed in an effort from the edge of the area after a cut-back from the impressive Jack Wilshere.
Arsene Wenger seems to have given an interview to France Football, drips and drabs of which are now appearing in translation in the English press. Speaking about summer signing Samir Nasri, he has expressed his concern at the number of injuries the midfielder has already suffered:
“Samir is a mix of [Robert] Pires and [Alexander] Hleb. I told myself that signing him could prove a positive gamble. But he picked up many injuries, too many! You tell yourself that if the guy was always with us, he would bring us a lot, but for the moment he has only been there half of the games, and fits and starts are bad for high level football.
The partnership with Clichy has developed, but we are still far from what can be produced because he is too often absent.”
It is concerning, but it oughtn’t surprise us – Wenger confesses Nasri was a gamble (albeit a £13m one), and he had struggled with health and fitness whilst at Marseille. If he could only get a decent run of games together, I’m sure he could be a massive player for us.
Le Boss says that “on a human level”, Gallas-gate was the biggest challenge he has faced as Arsenal manager. Would it be churlish to say that it was a problem of his own making? Well then call me Mr. C Hurlish of 10 Churlish Street.
Yesterday, Arsene took part in a webchat on ArsenalTVOnline. Somehow, I conspired to miss it, but unless the questions were as heavily censored as a political debate on Russia TV, it’s logical to assume he was asked about the current state of the squad and his desire to improve it. If/when a transcript of that ‘chat’ emerges, it could prove to be interesting. Did anyone catch it? Drop me a line if so.
Elsewhere, Lassana Diarra is reported to be on the verge of an £18m move to Real Madrid. Wonder how Arsene might respond to a question about that.