FA Cup – Eduardo helps classy Arsenal past Cardiff
The Brazilian-born Croatia striker headed home the opener in the 20th minute before calmly placing home a penalty he had won himself on the hour mark.
His impressive all-round display suggests he is fully recovered from the horrific leg break that kept him out for so long.
In between those two goals, his strike partner on the night Nicklas Bendtner headed home Arsenal’s second, while substitute Robin van Persie added a fourth a minute from time as Arsene Wenger’s side set up a fifth-round date with Burnley.
Arsenal were dominant right from the start of the match and could have been in front well before Eduardo broke the deadlock.
Manchester United loanee Tom Heaton made a great double save from Bendtner early on and also used his feet to kick away a close-range William Gallas header as Arsenal produced wave after wave of attack.
When Arsenal did finally score, they were perhaps lucky that referee Mike Halsey did not see a foul by Gallas on Ross McCormack in the build-up; however following it they produced a devastating break that Cardiff could not handle.
Eduardo helped in the creation of the goal, feeding Carlos Vela down the left; the Mexican then chipped a delightful ball back into the box and the frontman guided his header into the corner with aplomb.
The scoreline changed but the pattern of the match did not and it was no surprise when Arsenal doubled their advantage, Bendtner flicking home a great header into the bottom corner of the net direct from Samir Nasri‘s corner in the 34th minute.
Bendtner put in a decent shift up front but he was also guilty of producing one of the misses of the season just before half-time. The much-derided striker inexplicably fired off the post after Heaton pushed Vela’s magnificent turn and shot into his path, and the Dane failed to convert again when the ball came back out to him as Heaton pulled off a point-blank save.
Cardiff were lucky to have the in-form Heaton between the sticks as the young keeper prevented the scoreline from becoming embarrassing.
Arsenal did not create as much in the second half but were still in complete control of proceedings and Bendtner was denied again by Heaton just moments before Darren Purse bundled Eduardo down in the box.
He sent Heaton the wrong way with the penalty before going off shortly afterwards to a standing ovation from the delighted Arsenal faithful.
Cardiff were beaten long before that and in truth they never looked like scoring at the other end, a long drive from Jay Bothroyd being the best they could muster.
Arsenal capped off a fine performance in the last minute when Eduardo’s replacement Van Persie blasted home a fourth goal after a through-ball from Bendtner.
The Dutchman also headed off the post in stoppage time before the referee finally put Cardiff out of their misery.
To cap a terrible night for the Welsh side they could face action from the FA after a mobile phone and a shoe was thrown from their section of fans.
As for Arsenal, they will now play Burnley at the Emirates in the fifth round – and if they can get revenge on the side that knocked them out of the Carling Cup they will enjoy another home tie in the quarter-finals against Hull City or Sheffield United.