Wenger weighing up Eduardo inclusion

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger must decide whether to take a gamble on Eduardo and throw the striker back into action for Arsenal's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Cardiff on Monday night.

Brazil-born Eduardo has been out for a year after his horrific leg break against Birmingham last February, but came off the substitutes' bench for Croatia to set up Niko Kranjcar in his country's 2-1 midweek friendly win in Romania.

Having been among the Gunners' unused substitutes against Tottenham at White Hart Lane last week, the 25-year-old is now itching to get back in an Arsenal shirt.

However, Wenger is cautious about rushing Eduardo's progress.

"He is back and ready to go," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"I don't know [about Cardiff]. I don't want to promise anything. I want the freedom to pick the team I want to pick."

Eduardo, meanwhile, was happy enough with his run-out for Croatia. He said: "I feel good and I proved that I can play again.

"All my team-mates asked me if I was scared, but I'm happy not to fear anything on the pitch and I'm ready to play.

"When I came on, I must confess that I felt tension in my stomach, but it disappeared when I made my first touch.

"The most important thing is that I'm back, but I still have work to do to be the old Eduardo."

New signing Andrei Arshavin is ineligible for Monday night's replay, having only completed his protracted move from Zenit St Petersburg on transfer deadline day.

Midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) is still sidelined, while striker Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) will miss the next three weeks and Emmanuel Eboue must serve a one-match ban following his sending off at Tottenham.

However, full-back Gael Clichy is expected to have recovered from a badly-gashed head.

Wales international Aaron Ramsey, a summer signing from the Bluebirds, could miss out against his old club after picking up a knee problem.

"From what I heard he has stretched his medial knee ligament. It is hard to tell anything when you have not seen the player yet," said Wenger.

Arshavin, meanwhile, has mixed feelings about the appointment of Guus Hiddink, the coach of the Russia national team, as Chelsea interim manager to replace the sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"For me, the most important thing is that Hiddink doesn't leave the Russian team," said Arshavin, who helped Hiddink's side reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

"If Guus was to quit, our side could just simply collapse without him. I don't see any realistic replacement for him.

"However, if he feels he has the strength to help Chelsea, then that's how it should be."

Arshavin added: "On one hand, I would like to wish Guus good luck, but on the other hand, Chelsea are now our rivals.

"Also, I am worried that if everything goes well for Guus in London then he will stay with Chelsea for longer."