On February 2008, Arsenal were five points clear at the top of the Premier League and seemingly on course to win their first title since 2004. It seemed nothing could get it in the way of their title plight.
However, their season hit a stumbling block on one agonising moment, when Eduardo da Silva fractured his tibia and fibula during a match with Birmingham precisely nine years ago and more than just his leg was broken. Arsenal’s resolve was shattered too, and their subsequent collapse has haunted the club ever since.
It all happened so fast. Arsenal were just three minutes into the game at St. Andrews when Martin Taylor’s clumsy challenge into Eduardo left him struggling for balance on the floor.
The replay of the incident was initially displayed on television before they decided that it was too horrific for public broadcast. On the field, players from both sides had their heads in their hands in shock. This incidence that just happened to Eduardo was every footballer’s nightmare.
The player himself, Eduardo Silva posted on Twitter about two years ago, “It was exactly seven years ago. My worst injury. But I don’t want to remember the sadness, just the support that I received…”.
Taylor, of course, was immediately dismissed. However, he has always insisted there was no malice in the challenge. Describing the incident to Sam Wallace of the Independent, he said, “Arsenal did not see it that way.
On the pitch, the team were clearly unsettled by what they had witnessed. Turning focus back on the game proved an almost impossible task, and it was no surprise when Arsenal fell behind to a James McFadden free-kick.
They did eventually manage to reassert themselves, taking the lead thanks to two goals from an 18-year-old Theo Walcott. However, the drama was not yet over when Gael Clichy conceded a penalty in stoppage time which McFadden converted to tie the scores.
Eduardo Silva is currently without a club after being released from Brazilian club, Atletico Paranaense earlier this year.