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Eduardo can handle Brum return - AW

25 Mar 2010 16:13:02

Eduardo can handle Brum return - AW

The Croatia international was sidelined for the best part of a year after being left with a broken leg and dislocated ankle following an X-rated challenge by Blues defender Martin Taylor in February 2008. Eduardo has, though, shown a great deal of character to recover and return to the Gunners first team, with six goals this season having been mostly used as a substitute. Wenger accepts this weekend may bring back some painful memories for the 27-year-old, but backed the Brazil-born forward to deliver the perfect response. "I have not spoken to him yet about that, but it will certainly have a weight in his mind," the Arsenal manager said. "That is part of a career as well, to show you have that mental strength to deal with those kind of situations and Eduardo has a lot of mental strength - he can deal with that. "Overall we want him to come back there and just win our game. That is the only way you can deal with that situation." Wenger continued: "Eduardo will have to face the fact he returns there, which will make some articles, but he has just to prepare his mind to deal with all that. "It is like you drive the same way every day in your car - one day you have an accident; afterwards, you cannot just not go through this way any more. You have to live with it. Life goes on. "It is only once in the 1000 times he played which he had an accident. It happened at Birmingham, but could have happened somewhere else." The title challenge of Wenger's young side never really recovered from the events at St Andrew's, where Birmingham secured a 2-2 draw with a controversial last-minute penalty and then captain William Gallas broke down as emotions ran high. The Gunners boss, however, maintains the squad is now much stronger and feels the way they responded to the loss of Aaron Ramsey to a broken leg by going on to win at Stoke is testament to their character. "We did not deal well with that particular incident on the day, with the situation we faced," Wenger recalled. "But, since then, exactly the same happened at Stoke, and we responded in a very strong manner. "I do not think on that particular day we lost the championship. There were much more heavier ingredients, like some players not completely focused, and afterwards we had players who were at the end of contracts." Wenger, however, accepts there can be no more margin for error over the final seven league games of this season if Arsenal are to go on to win the title. The Gunners briefly returned to the top of the table last weekend when they beat relegation battlers West Ham with 10 men at Emirates Stadium. However, both Manchester United and now Chelsea, following last night's resounding 5-0 victory at bottom club Portsmouth, are back above them. With just two points separating the challengers, and Chelsea still to face United at Old Trafford next month, the title race looks set to go right down to the wire. "We can only focus on our own performance because we know our route has to be perfect," said Wenger. "To be perfect, it is important we focus on our performances. "We needed some help from the other teams, but we know even that only now works if we are consistent and can keep our momentum. "We have created a fantastic momentum and a great belief within our squad, but the consistency of our run is the most important." Arsenal will be without suspended centre-half Thomas Vermaelen on Saturday, so former United defender Mikael Silvestre is expected to slot in alongside veteran Sol Campbell. Striker Nicklas Bendtner - who spent the 2006/2007 campaign at Birmingham - should also feature, despite nursing an ankle problem. Birmingham v Arsenal 1st Goalscorer: Eduardo 5/1


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