Monday, 14 September 2009
Adebayor Attitude Aggravates Arsenal Fans Further
After an exciting goal-filled weekend of football in the world’s most illustrious football league, the biggest joy came at Vicarage Road where Watford made it four games unbeaten with a brilliant tap-in by Danny Graham to beat bottom of the table Barnsley 1-0.
However this will not be the talking point of the weekend, as once again the headlines are overshadowed by an act of pure stupidity from a Manchester City striker. Two instances in the game between Man City and Arsenal at Eastlands on Saturday will undoubtedly result in Emmanuel Adebayor serving a ban that could last up to six games depending on how the FA treat his attack on former Arsenal strike partner Robin Van Persie.
Adebayor also followed an excellent goal with a celebration Usain Bolt would have been proud of, running 90 meters at blistering pace, sliding on his knees and jeering at the travelling Arsenal support. It is hard to put into decent language how big of an idiot Adebayor made himself look in this game, a game in which he as well as his team mates, played excellently. Man City completely outplayed an Arsenal side who will have to dramatically improve to change many opinions that they will lose their top 4 position this season. The two acts overshadow what was a technically sound game of football, highlighting the strength of a competent City side that should be challenging for honours this season.
It is fair to say that most Arsenal fans were happy to see the back of Adebayor last season. After a good season filling the shoes of Gunners hero Thierry Henry, last season Adebayor seemed to slink back into his former self, a shadow of that excellent player (we all remember the goal against AC Milan and the overwhelming praise he achieved for it) Arsenal fans got a glimpse of for a season. Half baked performances on the pitch combined with an obvious arrogance with his new position in the Arsenal squad gave their fans a lot to be frustrated about. His attitude towards potentially joining AC Milan, telling one news camera that he was staying at Arsenal then immediately telling a Sky Sports camera that he was joining AC Milan and a final decision would be made the following week, did even more to disrupt Arsenal fans and they started to resent the strikers attitude. Towards Henry’s last few months at the Emirates, some fans argued that he thought he was bigger than the club, often opting to sit in the directors area when he was injured and even acting like a coach on the bench along side Wenger. Henry already is, and will most certainly go down as an Arsenal legend, and it appears Adebayor was upset that the Gunners faithful weren’t extending him that same courtesy. Adebayor has said in recent interviews that he feels more appreciated at City, yet his constant comments about wanting to leave Arsenal were never going to do anything else other that aggravate Arsenal fans into showing him the door themselves. Arsenal fans aren’t stupid enough to instantly accept back a player whose loyalty is clearly not there.
On Saturday at Eastlands it was clear that this was the moment that Adebayor had been waiting for; a chance to show all those doubters what he was made of, and, had he let his football do the talking, he would have done exactly that. You can argue that players continuously take stick from opposing fans in every game, but 99.9% of the time that is 'pantomime' booing of the 'villain' anyway. Adebayor had none nothing at Arsenal for the fans in his last 18 months there, and thus the respect the player once had had gone, and had he kept his head down, taken his goal and let his inspiration on the pitch be what the game was remembered for he may have been able to recreate some of that respect. An excellently taken headed goal and a world class run past 5 Arsenal defenders to tee up Shaun Wright-Phillips for a near miss displayed those talents that Arsenal fans frustratingly never saw at the Emirates. The ludicrous amount of money spent at City over the summer is clearly producing results, and the football displayed by the home side was a joy to behold, Craig Bellamy in particular had one of those days that puts him up there with the Premier League’s best.
However, the flamboyant striker had other ideas, and after his goal he ran the length of the pitch in a speed that would no doubt have the Togolese athletics team on the phone to his agent asking for a change of career. In front of the Arsenal fans his slid on his knees as a barrage of prawn sandwich crusts and bottles found their way onto the pitch at the outrage of the Arsenal fans. In an interview afterwards Adebayor claimed that emotions got the better of him and he was sorry for his actions. After the deception he displayed to the media with the AC Milan transfer it is not surprising that many Arsenal fans (and all football fans) took his apology with a pinch of salt, and I have no doubt that Adebayor had planned such a celebration since his transfer in July. Had the goal been scored at the away fans’ end this may be a different story, but it was Adebayor’s exaggerated athleticism (that he’s never shown on the pitch, by the way) and targeting of the away fans that makes an emotional overload seem like a weak argument for Adebayor’s revenge against the Arsenal faithful. The resulting crowd reaction left a steward injured, and although you can condemn the crowd for getting over excited themselves, it was 100% spurred on by Adebayor’s attitude. The stewards, whilst expected to stand in the face of an adverse crowd did an excellent job of keeping the irate fans at bay, but they shouldn't have to be put in danger because of the players on the pitch intimidating the fans. Adebayor's current form at City annoys most Gunners anyway, because they knew he had that talent all along and are frustrated that he never displayed his excellent best in a red shirt. All Adebayor has done with his celebration is distance himself from the Arsenal fans even further, made himself look ridiculous to the rest of the football world, and also proved to Arsenal fans that he wasn’t pulling his weight at the Emirates. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a slightly hostile reception from both home and away fans in his next appearance at Eastlands.
Then there is the issue with Van Persie, who after the game condemned Adebayor’s attack and said he was disappointed in his former strike partner. Missed by the referee due to the play continuing, replay evidence shows Adebayor lashing out at Van Persie’s face, leaving him wounded and bleeding. I notice during the interview Adebayor never said he was sorry to the Dutch striker, nor on the pitch did he offer any condolence to his former team-mate. The evidence, whilst not conclusive, seems to show Adebayor kicking out at the fallen player. This takes Adebayor’s case away from just being a statement to the fans, and now becomes a case about a player wanting serious revenge on his old team. Van Persie’s challenge was worthy of a booking, but Adebayor’s kick is verging on assault, and Man City faithful standing up and defending the player must be biting their lip in trying to find a good argument. This is not an emotional response, it was a determined kick on another player and should be judged appropriately regardless of the context. I hope he gets a ban, I hope he gets the full potential of 6 games, because his antics resemble a spoilt child with a personal vendetta against a situation that he himself created because of his arrogant and disloyal attitude towards his old club.
The only other conclusion is that he really is that stupid….