The TV commentator responsible for guiding football fans through the FA Cup action at the Emirates Stadium last night was mournful of the fact that Eduardo, who made his first team comeback after suffering a horrific leg break early last year, narrowly missed out on a hat trick, something which would have made his comeback a true "fairytale". However, in reality, the striker could not really have asked for much more.
February 2008 is a month in football that we will all remember. On the 23rd of that month, Arsenal came up against Birmingham City in a crucial Premier League match. There were not too many talking points until Martin Taylor misjudged a tackle, leaving Eduardo with injuries too disturbing to be broadcast immediately on TV. However, over the following days, photos and videos of his injuries spread far and wide and the extent of the damage done to his leg was clear for all to see.
Many pundits doubted whether Eduardo would ever play football again and his successful comeback is a tribute to both modern medicine and the individual spirit of the striker, who showed resilience and great determination in returning from such a traumatic event. Tougher tests than Cardiff, who were completely outplayed at the Emirates last night, will soon come Arsenal's way and Eduardo will come up against defenders more familiar with his game. However, the signs are all looking good for the striker, who is only 25 years of age.
After scoring two goals and showing flashes of brilliance which made him a firm favourite with the fans prior to his injury, Eduardo described his excitement. He stated that his return had been the "best day" of his life and revealed that the experience of scoring had been "very emotional". Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, was also keen to praise the striker, describing his mental attitude as "extremely strong".
Wenger conceded that the importance of the striker's comeback would only become clear "at the end of the season" but the potential importance of Eduardo to an Arsenal team which has been unusually static during recent weeks should not be underestimated.