Last week it was Carlos Tevez playing against United and next week it will be Gareth Barry’s turn as Aston Villa visit Eastlands. But this week, it’s all about Emmanuel Adebayor’s return to the Emirates.
Normally, a player returning to a former club wouldn’t cause too much hype, but considering the circumstances surrounding Adebayor, a lot of interest will be given to this game.
It’s not just the acrimonious way Ade left Arsenal last summer that has left a bitter pill in the mouth of many a Gunners supporter. Arsenal received a sizeable fee for a striker who was adored so much by the fans, then vilified when he apparently touted a move to AC Milan before he left London and headed north to join the blue revolution.
But it was the striker’s conduct during the match at Eastlands in September that will stick in the minds of every fan that passes through the turnstile at Arsenal on Saturday. Ade almost started a riot when he put the blues 3-1 up against his former club, before running the full length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the supporters who once chanted his name.
Then following the match, his former team-mate Robin van Persie claimed Ade deliberately set out to injure him when Ade’s studs raked along the Dutchman’s face. Ade was subsequently banned for three games following the incident and faced a further FA charge in relation to his conduct following his goal.
But it shouldn’t just be Ade under scrutiny on Saturday. The Arsenal fans, whose inexcusable behaviour at Eastlands was the catalyst for Adebayor’s celebrations, should be monitored closely to ensure there is no repeat performance. Of course, supporters have a right to send a few chants to their former players but the level of abuse Ade received at Eastlands was unacceptable. If the same thing happens on Saturday, surely the FA won’t be able to ignore it.
But Ade has got to play his part and let his football do the talking. He should expect nothing less than a hostile reception on Saturday but if he really wants to silence the Arsenal fans, he should let his football do the talking and get a hat-trick of goals, as opposed to a hat-trick of suspensions.
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