By Myles Palmer
Afterwards I asked Wenger if he had told Edu to keep it simple.
He said, “Yes, because we needed just to pass the ball when he came on.I just wanted to give him twenty minutes and to show him what is, a little bit, English contact- and he was quite surprised a few times.But you need that, to get used to it.”
Even in those tame, false, unreal twenty minutes against the rubber Hammers, the tall, slim Brazilian had given Arsenal a sense of composure and balance which they had lacked since Petit left.
And while Edu may lack Petit’s powerhouse running and pressing capabilities, one suspects his shooting and passing are better.
So can he play a significant role this season? Or is he, as Wenger has said, really a player for next season?
Realistically, Edu can play a very significant role as a supersub.
If Arsenal are winning he can come on and slow the game down, which is what they lacked against Bayern Munich.
If they are drawing and want to draw he can come on and dictate the tempo and keep possession.
If Arsenal are drawing and want to win he can come on and create a goal.
If they are losing, can Edu come on and save the game? Not really. Not yet.
When he is fit enough to do that he will be in the starting line-up.
March 5th 2001.