By Chris Harris
Freddie Ljungberg returned to action in style last night and then admitted his two-month spell on the sidelines has been "torture".
The Swedish midfielder came off the bench to score a vital extra-time goal against Bolton in the FA Cup Fourth-Round replay after finally shrugging off the hamstring injury he suffered against Portsmouth on December 16. Ljungberg has watched Arsenal's sparkling, unbeaten start to 2007 from the stands. And to say the 29-year-old has enjoyed his front-row seat is wide of the mark.
"I'm really happy we've done well but, personally, when I watch a game I get very, very nervous," said Ljungberg. "When I play I don't get nervous at all but to sit there when you can't influence the game is almost like torture for me. It's hard but that's how it is.
"It was very nice to get the call-up [to play against Bolton]. I was very happy to come back playing again and to end up with a goal is great.
"The goal felt good because I like to go in behind the defence and I got a good ball from Jeremie Aliadiere. I went past the defender a little bit and put it in the net. It felt great."
Ljungberg has fond memories of the FA Cup. He has played in four Finals - all in Cardiff - scoring in the 2001 defeat against Liverpool and the 2002 victory over Chelsea before netting a penalty in the shoot-out triumph against Manchester United two years ago. Now the Swede wants a date at Wembley this May.
"I've been in London quite a long time now and you really get that feeling for the FA Cup," said Ljungberg. "I've played in four Finals so it's really, really special to me.
"It's great to win the game here, we beat Bolton in the FA Cup a couple of years ago and I scored then as well."
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Feb 2007