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Eduardo adds menace to young guns

Eduardo adds menace to young guns

Arsene Wenger believes Eduardo has brought a new dimension to Arsenal that will help his side challenge for the Champions League.
The Croatian striker got off the mark for his new club in the last minute of Wednesday's 3-0 victory over Sparta Prague and Wenger is confident it will be the first of many.
Sparta were brushed aside 5-0 on aggregate in the third qualifying round tie but the Gunners will face much sterner tests in the group stages, which is where Eduardo should prove invaluable.
Thierry Henry's departure for Barcelona left a void in the Arsenal attack but rather than look for a big-name signing to replace the France striker, Wenger opted to pay Dinamo Zagreb eight million pounds for Eduardo.
The Brazilian-born star missed the start of the season with a knee injury but made a good impression in his debut against Blackburn and marked his second start with a clinical close range finish against the Czech champions at the Emirates Stadium.
It was exactly the kind of predatory effort that Wenger has wanted from his frontmen since he famously hailed Francis Jeffers as his "fox in the box."
Jeffers failed to live up to that billing but Eduardo shows much more promise.
"We did not always have the drive to find our strikers because we wanted to keep the ball, but if you find him he will score goals," Wenger said. "That's what he has. He is a box player.
"I actually felt he was more comfortable coming out to the left flank against Sparta because he had tricks to beat the full-back but he is a great striker.
"He is different to the type of forward we have had before."
If Eduardo represents Arsenal's present, the future is in the hands of Theo Walcott.
The teenager has found it hard to make an impact since his 10 million pounds move from Southampton 18 months ago, but his promising display against Sparta hinted that he could be ready to fulfill his huge potential.
Walcott joined the club as a striker but has mostly been deployed on the right wing by Wenger. It was from that position that he set up Tomas Rosicky's opener with a perfect pass and he could be in line for a more prominent role this season.
"Theo has qualities that can be decisive," Wenger said. "He is very direct and quick, he is a good finisher and has good crosses.
"I feel he is improving his link play and is more aggressive. He has assets in his game and when he uses them well he can be dangerous for everybody.
"He can make a difference. You have not many strikers in England who have these kind of qualities. You always think if you are one yard behind you will never catch him."
After Rosicky put Arsenal ahead with a fine finish in the seventh minute the tie was effectively over. The London team cruised through the rest of the match with few alarms and were able to put a flattering gloss on the score with two late goals.
While Eduardo's stoppage time strike from Denilson's cross won him a rapturous reception from the Arsenal fans, it was the second goal - scored by Cesc Fabregas - that carried most significance.
The Spain midfielder came off the bench in the second half wearing a black armband in memory of his compatriot Antonio Puerta, who died on Tuesday two days after suffering a heart attack playing for Sevilla.
Fabregas had played with Puerta for Spain at Under-21 and senior level and dedicated his goal to the defender's memory.
"Of course it was a tribute to him," Fabregas said. "The goal was for him, everything was for him.
"I played with him in the Spanish Under-21 team and we made our debuts for the national team together. He was only 22 so it was a big shock."


Updated : 2021-06-19 21:29 GMT+08:00