The fall-out continues

Morning all, I hope this Monday finds you in better form than the weekend. Saturday and Sunday were fairly traumatic, it has to be said, but it’s a new week and it’s time to start getting on with things.

There was positive news regarding Eduardo. He’s been moved to a London hospital and he made a statement outlining his desire to overcome the injury. A positive mental attitude will be vital so that’s encouraging. The fact that he’s even able to make a statement is positive. I suffered a serious limb break in the past and I was so off my box on morphine I couldn’t see straight let alone make a statement like that.

There were also reports that the injury wasn’t as serious as first thought. Initial reports suggested a double compound fracture, an injury that is, thankfully, rare but has generally resulted in the retirement of the player who has suffered it. In the Premier League we know all about Coventry’s David Busst and many will remember Luc Nilis, the Belgian international, suffer a horrible fracture (disturbing image warning) while playing for Aston Villa.

In Eduardo’s case it seems that it’s only his fibula that has been broken and I think that seriously increases his chances of making a decent recovery. All the same these stories have not been confirmed by the club so I think we’d be best to wait for that until we get too hopeful.

Apparently Martin Taylor attempted to visit Eduardo and he deserves some credit for that. There are plenty of footballers who wouldn’t have bothered at all or wouldn’t have the courage to do so. Sometimes it’s much easier to not take responsibility, to hide away, to take the easy way out and ignore what’s happened. As I said yesterday I don’t believe for a second that Taylor tried to break Eduardo’s leg but he is guilty of a dangerous and ugly tackle which has had terrible consequences. So as much as we roundly condemn him for that we have to acknowledge the fact he’s at least tried to say what he has to say in person rather than via a meaningless statement released via a website or merely saying nothing at all.

The media reaction to all this has been painful though, I have to say. From the idiots who suggested it wasn’t even a yellow card to the newspapers whose match reports blatantly ignored a violent assault on a fellow player. Much happier to focus on Wenger’s admittedly heated initial statement (seriously, I saw at least a dozen websites go trawling for hits with Wenger’s ‘life ban’ comments well after the boss had retracted his initial statement) or Gallas’s end of game antics the old boys couldn’t find it in themselves to condemn a ‘good honest British player’. It’s nonsense. That the focus should be taken away from the Taylor challenge to Wenger’s words says so much about some of the people who write about football in England.

Without dwelling on it I think we have to ensure we don’t lose sight of the fact that the need for change is still obvious. There have been many testimonies on the character of Martin Taylor since this incident and those, coupled with his disciplinary record, suggest he’s not the kind of person who would try and cause serious damage to a fellow player. Still, that doesn’t alter the fact that a very bad challenge carried out by him has caused serious injury to Eduardo. He may have been a bit late, he may have not meant to hurt him as much as he did, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be punished for what happened.

The longer the FA goes without introducing some method of punishment for incidents like this the more likely we are to see it repeated. And perhaps the fans who think that Arsenal’s reaction has been over the top won’t be so quick to judge when it’s one of their players out for 6 months and the perpetrator is back in 3 games. Those newspapers and TV stations who want to slag off Wenger about his comments are, in my opinion, merely using this opportunity to give him stick to suit their own agenda. Headlines about AW and disrepute will sell more papers than ones calling for the footballing authorities to finally take a stand against proper violent conduct. They are cowards.

Steven Kelly must be one of the front runners for the ‘Stupidest cunt of all time’ award. He said:

It was harsh Tiny (Taylor) being sent off. Tiny has gone in and it wasn’t a malicious tackle and the reason the ref has sent him off is because he has seen Eduardo has broken his leg. I don’t think you can send a player off for that.

Fucking hell. What a moron. If you can’t send a player off for a brutal, over the ball challenge then when can you send him off? For a little slap at someone’s face? I understand players sticking up for their mates but to suggest Taylor was harshly done by is quite patently absurd. Or to put it a more Irish way, as thick as bottled shite. Ask a fan of any team who has seen one of their players have his leg broken by a bad tackle and ask them if they thought the sending off was harsh. Not a one would suggest such a thing.

Mathieu Flamini says Arsenal will do their best to win the title for Eduardo and describes the injury, saying:

I went over to see him and it was really bad. I have no words to describe what I saw. It’s the worst injury I have seen. He is a friend and it upsets you.

When you read some experts suggesting he could have lost his foot then it really does make bigger fools of all those trying to make light of the incident.

Lots of stories this morning about William Gallas and his post match reaction. I said what I had to say yesterday about it, I don’t think there’s any point repeating it, but as I also said he needs to shape up. This is a young team that needs a strong leader between now and the end of the season. It’s a team that deserves a strong leader not somebody who throws a tantrum like that and shirks their footballing responsibilities, whatever the circumstances.

For now though we should put what happened at St Andrews firmly behind us and get on with winning games, starting with Villa on Saturday. Never before has the ‘one game at a time’ mantra been more important. The manager has to get his players focussed again and I think having no midweek game this week is probably a blessing. It gives him time to sort some heads out.

Arsenal are collecting messages of support for Eduardo – go here for more information.

Right, that’s about that. More tomorrow.