Eduardo close to return as Arsenal prepare to host Wigan

This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Eduardo could soon be back in first-team action after making a full recovery from the broken leg he suffered in February. The Croatian endured the horrific injury after being challenged by Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor.

However, ten months after the incident, it is thought that Eduardo is closing in on a competitive return. Wenger has said that the striker is ‘joining in full training matches’ and that he will make his first-team return ‘as soon as possible’.

The Arsenal boss wasn’t putting a time frame on when Eduardo will play again, but I imagine that as long as he comes through a couple of reserve team games – we could see him before 2008 is out and that would be a great boost.

During his 31 appearances for Arsenal to date, the Croatian found the back of the net on 12 occasions. There was no doubt that he showed his fantastic finishing ability and the Arsenal fans really began to warm to him before the injury. I just hope he can come back as the same player because ten months out is a long time.

Eduardo will get a heroes reception when he returns though and this should give him a huge confidence lift. He should know that no Arsenal fans expect him to be back to his best straight away. As long as he can start producing some of the quality he showed before the season is out – that would be excellent.

The former Dynamo Zagreb man won’t be involved in tomorrow’s clash against Wigan the Emirates though. The Gunners take on Steve Bruce’s men looking to follow up their previous Premier League victory against Chelsea last weekend. As we all know, it is vital that Arsenal pick up the three points and start to string some results together.

We have said all this before, but this time it is an absolute necessity. The result against Chelsea is worth nothing if the Gunners don’t brush aside Wigan. Even though winning the title is still unlikely, for the sake of the season – in terms of momentum for the FA Cup and the Champions League – Arsenal need to hit some form now.

Wenger agrees with these sentiments by saying that the team ‘cannot afford to drop any more points’ and that they must ‘go for it’ in the coming weeks.

In terms of the team news ahead of this one, the senior players are likely to return to the starting line-up after the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Burnley. Injured duo Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure should be amongst the squad as well.

However, William Gallas will miss out because of a calf injury as Arsenal look to record their first home win in the league since the Manchester United game back in early November.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about football betting