Emmanuel Adebayor’s name once rang out around the Emirates Stadium but, right now, that seems a very long time ago.
The Togolese left Arsenal in controversial fashion in 2009, upsetting fans and undermining the club to get his move to Manchester City. He created uproar when celebrating his first goal against the Gunners and thrives whenever he’s back on his old turf.
With 62 goals in 142 Arsenal appearances, Adebayor had huge ability but rarely made the most of it. Since leaving north London he has also played for Spurs and Real Madrid but now finds himself at Crystal Palace, Arsenal’s opponents on Sunday.
“He is a player with huge offensive potential,” Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has admitted. Adebayor is always at the centre of things against the Gunners and had three goals and two assists in his 11 games against us since leaving.
“He is always fired up against us but we had a great contribution to his career because when I took him he was not playing at Monaco. He came here and did very well.”
He did, eventually taking the burden off the rest of the team to replace Thierry Henry’s goals with a superb 2007/08 season after the Frenchman left for Barcelona.
However, an attitude issue stopped him reaching those heights again and, in truth, he hasn’t had anything close to the career he could have had.
“He is a fantastic striker. One day he will look back at his career and will see that Arsenal had a huge influence on it,” Wenger added.
After seeing Andy Carroll score a hat-trick for West Ham United last weekend, there must be at least a little concern that Adebayor will deliver a similarly dangerous performance this weekend.
“One way Adebayor excels is through the heading of the ball. His ability is to catch the ball on crosses and he can score. He is quite quick with the balls over the top, which means on counter attacks he can be dangerous as well.”
If Adebayor does play, Arsenal will have to be much more alert to his threat than they were at Upton Park. As if this season couldn’t get any worse, seeing Adebayor score against the Gunners again would send fans mad.