Deadline day for the summer transfer window came and went without any news of incoming or outgoing transfers at Arsenal. But things were far from quiet on Tuesday for the North London side, as its Reserves squad won again in convincing fashion and club management received word of UEFA’s decision to ban striker Eduardo da Silva for two Champions League group games.
While the European governing body’s plans regarding the Eduardo incident had been evident days ago, yesterday’s announcement made the ban official — a two-match suspension beginning with the Gunners’ opening group encounter at Standard Liege on September 16 — while also giving Arsenal three days to appeal the decision.
The actual statement on the matter, appearing on the UEFA web site, included the following: “The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body today examined the case of the Arsenal FC player Eduardo ‘for deceiving the referee’ during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg match on 26 August against Celtic FC, and has suspended the player for two UEFA club competition matches.”
Arsenal released its own statement on the matter Tuesday, making known its disappointment with UEFA’s decision and adding: “We have been deeply frustrated by the perfunctory and apparently arbitrary process that UEFA has followed in this instance. We believe it is imperative that UEFA’s explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced. It is also critical that UEFA provides specific details of the processes it plans to adopt in reviewing all games under its jurisdiction.”
Arsenal may file an appeal, with the club statement also noting that: “We have been informed that we will receive a ‘reasoned decision’ from UEFA by Thursday of this week. Once we receive UEFA rationale, we will make a decision on the next steps. ”
Manager Arsene Wenger’s strong reaction of disapproval to UEFA’s actions was described in many a weekend press report, with other noted managers coming out since then to also question the decision and wonder how the governing body will approach and discipline various incidents of “deception” in the future.
Those coaches include former Celtic chief Gordon Strachan along with Slavan Bilic, manager of Eduardo’s national team Croatia, who slammed UEFA’s decision as “a disgrace. We are talking about a player who is a role model of a sportsman. I simply cannot understand how he can be punished.”
Eduardo is currently with his national side for the international break, as many first-teamers have left the Emirates to represent their country. But the Reserve team continued its schedule yesterday, with the young Gunners putting on a dominant display in a 4-0 win at Birmingham.
Sanchez Watt scored twice for Arsenal, with Craig Eastmond and Gilles Sunu adding goals to help defeat a Birmingham side that included former Premiership striker Kevin Phillips. This writer was particularly impressed with the performances of midfielders Fran Merida and Francis Coquelin, who controlled play and created most of the scoring opportunities for their teammates.
The only down side to the victory was an injury to Armand Traore (pictured above) late in the game at St. Andrew’s. The left back had made a number of strong runs down the flank and assisted on one goal, but pulled up with what seemed to be a groin injury on a late burst forward and was immediately taken off, leaving Arsenal to finish with ten men.
Traore was one of a number of Gunner defenders rumored to be leaving the club this summer either through transfer or loan deals late in the transfer window. Yet with the deadline now passed, Traore, Philippe Senderos and Emmanuel Eboue all remain at the Emirates, to offer cover for first-team defenders as well as potentially see action in the domestic Cup competitions.
Speaking of those knockout tournaments, the third round draw for this season’s Carling Cup was announced this past weekend, with dates for the round’s matches scheduled yesterday.
Among the higher-ranked Premiership clubs joining the competition in this third round, Arsenal will play host to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, September 22 to open its Carling Cup run for this season.
Wenger again plans to use squad players and younger stars for matches in this league cup, which begins earlier than the FA Cup and culminates in a February final — and represents Arsenal’s first chance at a trophy for the 2009-10 campaign and a potential end to the four-year drought of silverware for the club.