Eduardo We Love You. Ade, We Hate You.

Morning all, my faithful brothers and sisters in Arsenal, although I assume it will be mid-afternoon by the time I post this (apologies in advance). It's been a rather full week (thankfully) since the most recent Interlull's conclusion, with two matches played and two wins recorded. Things are looking quite rosy indeed at the moment, and this coming on the back of consecutive losses to West Brom (Eep!) and the Chelsea Rent Boys, it definitely marks a welcome change in the effort, application and, consequently, fortunes of our boys in red and white.

I'll not dwell much on the Birmingham City win at the Emirates. Sean's review was more than thorough, and the basics being covered, I'll only comment on a few instances. First, for all of our injury problems at the back, we're still far too porous defensively, no matter who's playing. Birmingham had far too many chances at our goal that were created by sloppy defending and shoddy man-marking, and these issues have plagued Arsenal for years, I would say since 2006. Hhad it not been for the quick reactions of Fabianski (who really had a very fine game indeed) and Brum's poor finishing, we could very well have lost this match 3-2. We can moan about having Koscielny and Vermaelen out all we like, but the fact remains that they too are guilty of poor positioning and lapses in judgement that far too frequently lead to capitulation (letting goals in, for the less vocabularically adept). When compared with how tightly organized Chelsea's back four are, it's a wonder we're not shipping more goals than we are. My whining about this doesn't solve the issue of course, but, as I said this has been an issue since 2006, back when we had an assistant coach for the defense:

I'd welcome him back in a heartbeat. I think we all would.

Secondly, I wouldn't expect Arsenal to be given another domestic penalty decision, particularly Chamakh, for months. All the moaning Birmingham City made after the match, amounting in the end to 30 Marlee Matlins simulating Gregorian Chants, about Chamakh diving will ensure that at the very least refs will be watching Marouane very closely indeed. Much like a soft Eduardo dive and a bleating bunch of sheepshagging Celtic fans screaming about it led to our not getting a penalty call from August until December, I would expect similar inaction from English referees. Oddly enough, although he made a meal of it, there was contact and Scott Dann made no attempt to play the ball. In the end, that's a penalty every time.

Finally, Jack Wilshere needs to learn how to tackle already. If not, we're going to have a supremely-gifted dirty bastard on our hands.

With another domestic win under our belts, we turned our sights to Europe, as we hosted Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League group match that marked the return of Eduardo to Ashburton Grove. I think you'll all agree that Eduardo remains a tragic figure in the eyes of Arsenal supporters.

He wasn't to start the night, and Shakhtar took up a more defensive posture than I had anticipated giving their reputation. It was a bit sloppy in the early going and this might have been a quite boring affair had we not broken the deadlock midway through the first half with one of the ugliest goals you'll see this season. A poor Arsenal corner that should've been claimed easily by the Shakhtar keeper was dropped, the ball then poked forward by Johan Djourou, and finally scrambled into the net by Alex Song. A goal is a goal of course, but that was worthy of a cynical Mourinho-type side. Not only that, but the last time Alex Song scored, he started to fancy himself the heir to Eduardo and not Gilberto Silva, and he's still going forward a bit too often for my liking rather than staying behind and cleaning up.

With that out of the way, it wasn't long before we bagged a second. A deflected cross from the right by Song reached Nasri in the box, and the French prodigy settled it and drilled the ball home with a brilliant finish. 2-0 was how we went to halftime, but there was far more to come. Shakhtar were undone by their own sloppy defending again when, after having just been warned about tangling in the box on a free kick, Adriano decided it would be a good idea to put Johan Djourou in a choke-hold and then throw him to the ground. Sadly for him the referee disagreed and pointed to the spot, and in his first match back since Sunderland last month, el capitan Cesc took a lovely penalty from the spot to make it 3-0, showing his undershirt with a Catalan birthday greeting for his mother. And even then we weren't finished.

The fourth goal was just sumptuous football from an Arsenal side very much on their day. Remarkably, Denilson played a ball forward to Chamakh, who one-touched the ball into Wilshere's path. Jack played a delightful one-two with Rosickyat the edge of the box that set him one-on-one with the Shakhtar 'keeper, who must've already been sick of picking the ball out of his own net. Despite a slightly heavy first touch, Jack got back on the ball and nimbly chipped the keeper. It was his first European goal, and put an exclamation point on yet another fantastic performance from our young Englishman. We'll certainly miss him during his earned 3-match ban.
<br/><a href="" target="_new"title="CL Highlights: Arsenal/Shakhtar">Video: CL Highlights: Arsenal/Shakhtar</a>
The fifth (!) Arsenal goal was an example of why every coach goes mad when his team doesn't play to the whistle. With Gunners besieging the Shakhtar goal (again), Nasri feigned a shot from outside the area and chipped a pass over the defense to Chamakh. Every single Donetsk (I can't just keep writing Shakhtar, it looks silly) and Arsenal player but Chamakh stopped, assuming Marouane was offside, but the linesman correctly kept his flag down. Chamakh looked at the linesman, saw he was onside, and stuck it past the poor 'keeper and into the net. 5-0 and the champagne football was wella and truly on.

The introduction of Eduardo brought not only a loud, welcoming chorus from the home supporters but also the Ukrainian side's first real attacking threats of any kind. While the visitors were never going to come back from 5-0 down, not a single home fan begrudged him his consolation goal, despite it being set up by poor Arsenal defending. Eduardo played a lob into the box that the Brazilian Jadson looped back into the box, which could and should have been cleared by a tighter and more attentive defense, but it fell into the path of the onrushing Crozilian, whose finish was classic. Nothing Fabianski could have done to stop the shot, and Eduardo earned a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans. True to his word, Eddie did not celebrate the goal at all. Pure class, to the end.

There are few ex-Arsenal players who would've received such treatment form the Arsenal support upon scoring against the Gunners, and Eduardo is held in high esteem by us all, I would think. He was to have been our replacement for Thierry Henry, and by November of his initial season, it seemed he was well on his way. The Crozilian was banging in goals left and right for us, displaying silky skill and the deftest of finishes. Sadly, a shitkicking, unskilled english laborer put an end to Eddie's goalscoring ways, breaking Dudu's ankle and, it would later seem, his confidence. It was really the aforementioned Celtic penalty and the ensuing public calling for his head and that of all cheating foreigners by the xenophobic press, along with niggling injuries and Eddie's ill-fit in the new 4-3-3, that forced Arsene's hand in selling Eduardo. There will always be a sense of what-might-have-been for us about Eduardo, but it's not just his play that we'll miss, it's the way he carried himself and behaved. He was a true gunner, a fine representative of the club, and we were lucky to have had him.

In complete contrast, we visit Man City this Sunday, encountering again the scum that is Emmanuel Adebayor. The opposite of everything Eduardo represents (class, intelligence, pure finishing), this big idiot is the epitome of what is wrong with modern football. He's selfish, is convinced his own talent is far greater than it actually is, spits on his supporters, physically assaults fellow professionals (and former teammates), demands far more than he is worth, is petulant, has stupid hair, and is in total, a cowardly turd. In our last visit to the Middle Eastlands, he stomped on Cesc Fabregas' ankle, stamped on Robin van Persie's face, and upon scoring, made a point to sprint the length of the pitch (something he never did while playing for Arsenal) to celebrate in front of our travelling supporters, the ones who did nothing but support him as an Arsenal player. Not only that, but on the home match with Man City, he was so cowardly as to make sure he didn't start the match for fear of our home fans. He's like school on a Saturday folks: No class.

It seems that City fans have grown tired of his act already as well. He started last season in brilliant form, but soon reverted to type. He stopped running, looked bored and disinterested, and began shooting his mouth off about his club and the supporters. At least we had a brief honeymoon phase with Ade for a couple of seasons before he showed his true colors. City didn't even make a full season before hating the man. Given that they have the hardest-working-man-in-show-business-after-James-Brown, Carlos Tevez, it's no wonder the Citizens wouldn't mind being shot of Ade (as opposed to Ade being shot... shitty-aiming Angola gunmen). On the other hand, who would take him knowing all the baggage that comes with him?

Apart from Adebaywhore, this will be the most crucial match of the season so far for Arsenal. City have stormed to second in the league, just 2 points back of leaders Chelski and 3 ahead of us and United. They'll want to make this match a statement of intent, and it's up to our boys to put the Billionaire Boys Club back in their place. It's not an ideal time for us to play them, given our injuries, but by that rationale, when is? The fact is, we will need all eleven men on the pitch to play their hearts out if we're to win this one, nothing less will do. The lads need to find it in themselves to face adversity and overcome, and this match may well prove to be the adversity-est test we've yet had.

It's a Sunday match, so we'll know what the other title chasers will have done by the time we kick off at 11am EST. Injury news is largely positive, with Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner now fully fit, although Vermaelen and Koscielny remain injured, so they'll be sat alongside the permacrocked van Persie. He's due back in training mid-November, as is Aaron Ramsey. In any case, fingers crossed we'll have a relatively full squad by Christmas.

One last note, for those of us Gooners in the New York area, YES Network is now showing Arsenal 360 with Stewart Robson and company, followed by a replay of the weekend's match, every Monday night starting at 8pm. It's a welcome change for me as a Yankee fan, as for so long I've had to hear about their former connection with Man Ure. It's also good for American football fans that more networks are picking up Premier League content. Look for the Red Sox' network NESN to start showing by how much Liverpool lost as well. And it's only a matter of time before the Mets' network attaches themselves to sp*rs.

Until next time, let's keep it Goonerish. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!