Eduardo’s controversially won penalty helped set Arsenal on the way to their Champions League Group Stage with a convincing win over Celtic.
Arsenal 3-1 Celtic (5-1 agg)
The beauty of football is that it is a game that is spoken in one universal; a shot, a header, a chess trap or a save can be watched and easily understood by everyone but a dive? No, no no.
From where Eduardo was born, Brazil, the dive is more widely accepted as part of the game, where it may be seen to be clever to win one while it is usually up to the referee to try and make sure they are not fooled. So when Eduardo fell over the challenge of Artur Boruc he may have been perplexed by the reaction of the Celtic players. His dive had cost the Hoops the one real chance of getting something out of the game while the penalty had effectively put Arsenal through.
That is not to excuse Eduardo from the dive because it was but it is also not to say that he is a cheat. The football authorities must clamp down on simulation and Arsena Wenger may have a talk with his striker but even if they did, the flaw in humans would not stop this from happening again. Replay that challenge 100 more times and replacing Eduardo with another player will not guarantee a different outcome.
However it was a silky move to get to the penalty as Eduardo fantastically knocked the ball past the defender before his quickness of feet lured Boruc to lunge at the ball. The Polish keeper pulled out but Eduardo, already knowing that the ball was getting away from him, fell to the ground. The Croatian picked himself up and brushed away any guilty conscience he may have had before sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
It was a fairly even match before then and that goal notched Arsenal up another gear while Celtic remained deflated. Eboue and Arshavin both expertly finished off two flowing Arsenal moves but it was Massimo Donati who scored the goal of the game as he plucked a volley up from the sky which arrowed into Almunia’s bottom corner.
Wenger’s side were not the most fluent against a well oiled Celtic side but their superiority shone through. The new system has worked wonders for the players’ morale and the win over Celtic has so far shown to be well structured and organised to cope with even the most arduous of opposition.
Man of the Match: Denilson – Grew in stature as the game wore on, motoring up and down the pitch all game and at the heart of most Arsenal attacks.
ARSENAL (4-3-3): Almunia (7); Sagna (7), Vermaelen (8), Gallas (8), Clichy (7); Eboué (8) (Wilshere, 72), Song (6), Denilson (8)*; Bendtner (7), Eduardo (7) (Arshavin, 72), Diaby (6) (Ramsey, 61).
Subs not used: Mannone (gk), van Persie, Silvestre, Traoré.
CELTIC (4-4-2): Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell (O’Dea, 45), Loovens, Fox; McGeady, Brown, Donati, Maloney (Flood, 61); Fortune, McDonald.
Subs not used: Zaluska (gk), Naylor, Samaras, McCourt, Killen.
Goals: Eduardo pen 28, Eboue 53, Arshavin74, Donati 92
Booked: Caldwell 33, Eboue 54, McGeady 56.
Referee: M Gonzalez (Spain)
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||1|
|7||Shots off Target||6|