Sunday, February 23, 2014

23 February 2008 - Eduardo's Bad Break

On 23 February 2008, Arsenal striker Eduardo suffered an injury that put him out for a year and possibly derailed the club's season.

At the time, Arsenal were at the top of the table, riding a ten-game unbeaten streak that had seen them take 26 of 30 available points to pull five clear of Manchester United. Eduardo, playing in his first season since moving from Dinamo Zagreb in July, had made sixteen league appearances, mostly as a substitute, but was rounding into form after Christmas.

The Gunners were away at Birmingham City when, in the third minute, a challenge from Blues captain Martin Taylor snapped Eduardo's left fibula and dislocated his left ankle. The injuries were so graphic that the BBC declined to show replays of the incident, while players from both teams were visibly distraught at the sight.

Medical staff took the striker directly to the hospital. The match eventually resumed and played out as a scoreless draw, with neither team showing much inspiration to continue. It was the first of four consecutive league draws for the Gunners, who took only three points from their next four matches and slipped down to third, which is where they finished the year.

Eduardo returned the following February, but made only four appearances that season, though he scored three times. He eventually moved to Shakhtar Donetsk in July 2010. That October, he returned to the Emirates with his new team in the Champions League and scored his team's only goal in a 5-1 loss, drawing applause from the home supporters.

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