A look at the dictionary suggests that part of the meaning of the word intelligent says this: “showing sound judgment and rationality.” When Emmanuel Adebayor scored that header in Manchester City’s victory against Arsenal last September, at Eastlands, his goal celebration was anything but intelligent and he most certainly didn’t show any “sound judgment or rationality.” Fast-forward seven months and we find ourselves talking about Adebayor again as the Emirates gets ready to host Manchester City tomorrow afternoon, and no doubt an explosive reception awaits him.
Prior to the fixture, Adebayor’s team-mate Kolo Toure, a former Arsenal player just like Adebayor, has come out and said that the striker “needs to show more intelligence.” You would have thought that his unwise antics in the first fixture would have told him everything he needs to know about Arsenal fans hatred towards him but will he succumb to the heat of the battle once again? The game is arguably more crucial for City than it is for the Gunners because of the north London side’s capitulation at Wigan last weekend, which must now have knocked them out of the title race. City are right in the middle of an intriguing race with Tottenham, and possibly Aston Villa, for the coveted fourth-spot in the Premiership and Adebayor will need to let his feet do the talking for however long he is on the pitch tomorrow. In fact, it would help his cause if he didn’t speak at all about Arsenal, or the infamous celebration, post and pre match.
Toure, naturally, backed his City colleague. He said: “I think he will be really calm now. It is really difficult, especially when you spend three years at a club and you leave in a bad way. But we are all professional. I’ve had a word with him and Patrick Vieira has had a word with him as well. The most important thing for him is to give everything for Man City.” Another ex-Gunner, Vieira, could play a crucial role here as he is no stranger to controversy and would often get wound up in the long-running Manchester United-Arsenal rivalry when he was captain. Therefore, with the assurances from Toure, Vieira can pass on his experiences and would do well to make sure that fans are emotional characters and regardless of what Adebayor does tomorrow or in future Arsenal-City games his antics won’t be forgotten.
Adebayor seems like a highly-strung type of person because of the incidents involving his home country Togo in the last Africa Cup of Nations. Having now quit international football he may still be affected by the incidents of the terrorist attack on the Togo team bus. Whilst it can never be excused as to what he done at Eastlands last September, it looks as if he is a passionate man about all causes. Usually players learn their lessons in issues like goal celebrations in front of opposing fans, and doing at City’s home ground is one thing but by doing it at the Emirates is another thing altogether. Therefore, it is likely that his temperament will be tested tomorrow by a number of tackles, pressure when he is on the ball and no doubt thousands of home fans goading him every time he happens to misplace a pass or shoot wide. Any issues he had felt during his time with Arsenal must be at the back of his mind because he is likely to be partly relied upon to provide a goal tomorrow, along with a victory that would be crucial for City’s prospects of Champions League qualification.
Adebayor has gone on record as saying that this is “the worst season of my life” but he can show that he has some intelligence about him with a professional performance at the Emirates tomorrow. No matter what happens, stories like this will probably continue to occur considering how many players have gone back to previous employers throughout the years, and Adebayor’s treatment tomorrow is something that he will have to accept like a man. The view is that he went to Manchester City for the money, is outspoken and showed no loyalty to Arsenal.
Should he do the unthinkable for Arsenal fans and score in winning circumstances, than at least it may put some part of a troubled season behind him and allow him the opportunity to show that he can react “intelligently” with “sound judgment and rationality.”
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