Friday, September 30, 2011

Tottenham vs Arsenal: Adebayor takes centre stage

This weekend is the North London derby and that usually means a goal-busting, fight filled, controversial match. It’s usually an entertaining game regardless of the circumstances, but this year, given the fact that Arsenal have had a tough start to their season and are still blending in their new faces to the team, whilst Tottenham are only just finding their feet again, we should expect another goal-fest.

But in my opinion, this game is all about one man: Emmanuel Adebayor. The former Arsenal striker left the club back in the summer of 2009 to join Manchester City and their millions, and subsequently became a hate figure for Arsenal fans. Having spent 2 and half years with the Gunners and endearing himself to their fans (particularly for his performances against Tottenham, scoring 8 times in 9 appearances in all competitions and moments like this – click here) his move to City was greeted with anger by Arsenal fans.

However, when City faced Arsenal at the then “City of Manchester stadium”, they beat his former club 4-2 and Adebayor scored two goals, the first of which will be remembered for a very longtime indeed. It’s a moment he has recently apologized for, but one which exemplifies the raw emotions that footballers feel in the heat of the moment. He was suspended for it, but I thought it was one of the best celebrations of all-time. Running the length of the pitch to annoy his former fans, who had been taunting him all game. He got one back over them and it infuriated them. Such feelings and emotions are part of the game, and we should embrace moments like those and not punish players for them. (click here to see it)

However, Adebayor is a changed man now he says. Following the ambush on the Togo national team’s bus which left a few members on that bus dead or injured in January 2010, Adebayor’s form and career was put on hold. Unable to play and perform to his usual standard, he was out of the picture at City. It wasn’t until January 2011, when he moved on loan to Real Madrid, that the Togolese striker started looking like his old self again. This past summer, he was loaned out again by City, but to Tottenham and this weekend he faces his former club again, Arsenal.

Arsenal, still rebuilding their team following the sales of Nasri and Fabregas, will look at this game as the perfect opportunity to tell the whole of England and Europe that they are back on track. They’ve won their last 3 games in row in all competitions, the first time they’ve done that since February of this year, and will hope to continue to build on their form this weekend. People are still calling them a club in crisis, whereas I still believe they’ll conjure up enough points to finish in the top 4 again. On the weekend of Wenger's 15th year at the club, he faces one of his toughest tests.

Tottenham, on the other hand, boosted by the recent arrivals of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor have started looking a bit more consistent than usual. Following their 5-1 loss at White Hart lane against Manchester City, they’ve been undefeated for the whole month of September in all competitions. They’re starting to look like the team that people considered a threat for the title once more and their players are looking sharp again. Their fluidity seems to be returning as their star players are beginning to perform again.

Both teams are gradually picking up some form and will both be going for it. It should be end to end stuff at White Hart Lane again as these two clubs are not recognized for sitting back. But one man who will desperate again to make his mark is Adebayor. He’s looking dangerous once more and Arsenal’s new look defence will have to keep him quiet if they want to get anything out of this game. Expect a flood of goals and a lot of entertainment. It’s the North London Derby again.

1 comment:

  1. If you love deeply, you're going to get hurt badly. But it's still worth it.