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Bouquets and brickbats for Ade

It must seem something of a bittersweet week for Adebayor who has just been awarded African Player of the Year 2008 by the 54 African federation members. It is an achievement he can justly take pride in especially as still a couple of weeks short of his 25th birthday he is less than 18 months older than the player awarded African Young Player of the Year. Congratulations to him are deserved.

His form last season was impressive and led to a number of European clubs, notably Milan and Barcelona, contemplating bids above £20m to acquire his services. This season hasn`t gone quite so well though his goals and assists tallies are still respectable.

The injury suffered in the game on Sunday will keep him out of the side for a while. If he were feeling bad about that then post match comments from former Arsenal manager George Graham, were he aware of them, won`t have made him feel any better.

Graham said: 'Let's be honest - was Adebayor even on the pitch before he got injured? He has unbelievable potential but he is not getting the best out of himself.

'The team and the manager are not getting the best out of him. Ever since he signed a new contract he has gone backwards.

'Every time they knocked the ball up to him in the first half it was coming straight back."

Despite his form not matching last seasons levels he has been a regular pick for Wenger as, maybe only possible in an Arsenal team, while not yet 25 he is one of our more experienced players.

At times this season he appears to lack confidence, whether in himself or those around him, but much the same could be said of many in the team. The enforced rest won`t do him any harm and with a third of the season still to go there is time for him to make a greater mark.

In the meantime the award should remind him and others that he does have quality and this season will have let him know that it hasn`t to be taken for granted.



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 11 2009

Time: 11:10AM

Your Comments

What George Graham said was/is bang on! I just hope he can find some form again. It is important though to remind everyone how young he still is. Providing that it's accurate (you never know with some countries, remember Roger Miller and maybe Patrick V too).
navydave
It's good that you point out his stats are actually very good and a match for last seasons at this stage. Nobody could deny he isn't playing quite as well but he's certainly not playing as badly as people are making out. For Ade, his behaviour in the summer was always going to mean fans would wait excitedly and expectantly for excuses to criticise him- that's what happens when you act like an idiot. But it's also worth mentioning that the service this year is not a patch on what he had last year. Even before Cesc was injured, the lack of ball playing midfielders means midfield is bypassed and the ball is generally just lumped up at his head where he can't really do an awful lot with it. A richly deserved award nonetheless.
Little Dutch
It's not the goal/assist tallies that bother me, it's the looking like he couldn't give a crap. On Sunday a couple of times I saw him control the ball further than I can kick it and he didn't even make the slightest attempt to rectify his mistake, I mean he didn't even move. I'm not sure what's going on in his head but I hope the rest does him good otherwise he may well find himself out of the team .... especially if Dudu can find some sort of form!
Rocky7
His stats are good, 12 goals and 8 assists i believe, but like Rocky said he just does not look interested/commited/passionate enoguth at the moment. Maybe he is tired, maybe he has played through injury or maybe it is just the lack of all round service, but i feel he needs tro give more in his performances.
paul_ownz
Bang on GG! He deserves it for last season, if he's comparing himself to Henry and now on £80k a week, i expect him to deliver more. Last season was his absolute zenith, there's no way he can reach that again. Mercenarie i'm afraid.
shewore
Mercenary*
shewore
Ade just grow your locks and get back in form! :D
GoonerLou
I've got to agree with Rocky. I've always supported Ade for his ability and what he brings to our game - the powerful presence upfront and his involvement in our overall build up play. Some of that is not going to be so good this season, as the quality of the team has declined, but his work rate has dropped drastically. That is extremely disappointing and deserves a lot of criticism. We missed Ade earlier in the season (due to suspension/injury) and Bendtner couldnt replace him effectively enough. Now, lets hope Dudu can strike up a partnership with RvP, coz that will be crucial for the rest of the season.
prits
He needs to realise he's not droppable, because, as has been pointed out, his workrate now borders on the lazy. The return of Eduardo/purchase of Arshavin coupled with a few more returning from injury may give him a kick up the arse he deserves.
shewore
I wonder if we can play a 4-3-3. Clichy, Toure, Gallas, Sagna with Denilson dropping deep and Fabregas & Nasri either side. Then Eduardo up front with Arshavin & Van persie as wing forwards. Walcott could come on for any of the 3 up front etc
paul_ownz
LD, you cannot discard his lack of effort compared to last season. Watch my video again and you will see that he could ahve scored so many this season had he put the same amount of effort into his game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyOsBZvG6vE
Tom14
I think people got carried away with his goalscoring record last year, and so did Ade himself. In the end he got what he wanted - an awesome contract, while a lot of people connected the dots and somewhat naively but rightfully expect(ed) similar stats and application by Adebayor. There are a few things two consider in Ade's 2008/09 case and those are: a. he has never been nor bought as a so-called out-and-out striker who will carry the team. He was brought in to give us another dimension up front and imo he's done that. b. last year's circumstances in which Ade excelled are far from what we have now: new contract aside, the midfield is completely different (no hleb, Flam, cesc), he is not deployed in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation where he is the main target and most importantly RvP is fit. Anyway, I believe this injury could be a blessing in disguise for him. I hope he comes back hungrier and playing second fiddle to NickB/Eduardo which will motivate him to work harder.
G4L
paul, I thought about that myself, but wouldn't it just be easier to play a 442 with the same players? It makes more sense I think. (but Djourou in ahead of Toure)
Tom14
I never believed Milan were ever really interested in Ade -- and I'm dubious about Barca's interest as well. I think Milan were playing games with Ronaldinho's agent and faking interest in Ade. As soon as they got Dinho, all interest in Ade dropped. Given his poor performance this season, I doubt any big clubs will come calling for him. I assume the African footballer of the year award is given for the previous season, so this award is for his performance in 07-08? If so, it's a reasonable choice. Because if we're just to look at 2008, then I'd choose Eto'o (since the start of 08-09, he's been on fire) or the captain of the Egyptian team that won the ANC.
jaelle
It's fair to expect fewer goals from him this season because of the poor service he's getting but I think gooners wouldn't criticize Ade so much if he simply showed more effort. His greatest asset has always been his workrate and that's gone this season.
jaelle
Jaelle, couldn't agree more with both of those posts. The offer was never there on the table, 30m i reckon Arsene would've snapped up.
shewore
Maybe, but i would like to see both Nasri & Fabregas play centrally, where as a 4-4-2 would move Nasri to the wing. I was thinking like barca play with Yaya/Busquets as DM, Iniesta & Xavi either side and the 3 up front. Not that we have the same qualit as Barca
paul_ownz
But I don't think there is any need for Edu or van Persie to be placed out on the wing.
Tom14
I've said before that I think with a little more work, Ade and RvP could be a lethal strike force (it's borne fruit very well this season actually). But the return of Eduardo and arrival of Arshavin gives us options again, which we so desperately need due to our blatant predictability and inability to change our shape upfront. Ade and Eduardo is the best combo I've seen in a long time and saw us through our most imperious form of last season. Eduardo would start games upfront and once we went a goal up, he would switch out to the wing, enabling Hleb to go central, or if we were chasing a goal, we were able to move Eddie back up top. With Eddie back and Arshavin in tow, there is scope to repeat this experiment slightly. Arshavin can play wide or behind the striker, so those two players can interchange. Also Nasri has moved inside to good effect at times this season, so we can give the opposition more to think about. (Vela of course can play wide or upfront too). Our biggest problem and the goal glut of late (the defence have notably tightened up) has been the inability to change games- though Bendtner did this against Bolton and Hull by coming on as a wide man attacking the area. I believe van Persie has all of the ability, strength and intelligence to play a lone striker role with a decent attacking midfielder in the hole behind him (you may remember this is how we shaped up in the early part of last season when Adebayor was injured and RvP was fit- remember particularly the Emirates Cup against Inter when Hleb and RvP tore the Italians apart with their movement). Walcott also has the ability to switch between the wings and centre forward during a game. Basically, all of this is a long winded way of saying that it looks like we might have some options in the final third again, which we haven't really had all season and I hope the results of this in the final third of the season will make a difference. Villa began their season in June with the Intertoto so it's crucial we realise this now and take advantage. Now watch as, one by one, Eduardo, Arshavin and Nasri all pick up injuries in training whilst Rosicky announces his inevitable retirement and Agbonlahor and Young reveal that they accidentally stumbled upon the recipe for the illixir of eternal youth whilst surfing for internet porn.
Little Dutch
Eduardo is now starting tonight. If the game is on TV i think i will watch that game rather than the england game
paul_ownz
LD dun be so hard on Rosicky. i am very optimistic he will come back and give us another dimension in attack in our push for the CL and the FA Cup, and yu my friend are going to lose that 20 pound bet yu have with ur mate :D
luckys_10
Dudu has just come on for Croatia! Let's see if he can provide the options we crave in Ade's absence. :)
GoonerLou
Dudu just gave an assist for Kranjcar to score and take the lead against Romania. He's looking good!! :D
GoonerLou
Thank you God thank you Arsenal and all staff (especialy medical staff) Eduardo is now officialy back he has no fear 2-3 sliding tackles from Dudu plus great assist for Kranjcar. BTW Bring Kranjcar to Arsenal :D
Kranjcar19
Guess what????? england lost again..... surprise suprise!!
lifeisagooner
Villa Villa Villa, Villa maravilla!! Spain are just brilliant to watch. The only surprise is that they've even added heading ability through Llorente in their quite well-rounded game. They were very tough to beat on the ground, now that they've added the option of pumping long balls, you just sense an aura of invincibility around them. Fantastic team.
GoonerLou
I think I've had a sneak peak of next season's away kit (might be a prototype, but the guy who forwarded me the pic is very reliable with scoops such as these). It's going to be green and navy blue. Time to dump nike now.
Little Dutch
I think it looks fake. http://www.fansonline.net/arsenal/article.php?id=371 I for one would not buy that kit if you gave it to me free and paid me each time to wear it
paul_ownz
I suppose its to look like our 82 kit, the only time in our history we have had a green kit. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_XHx--ETqRVY/Rhk7l25LZWI/AAAAAAAAADs/Z6CvAkomx80/s320/arsenal-1983-84away.jpg
paul_ownz
Please God NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! YELLOWYELLOWYELLOW
navydave
Anyone see how the Spanish midfield works? Denilson could easy do the Senna job and they seemed pretty similar to me.
Tom14
Unfortunately I think Senna is a class above Denilson. I think Denilson is a good player, but Senna is class!
navydave
I am really looking forward to the rest of the season. The prospect of having Eduardo & Arshavin come in with the returns of walcott & Fabregas could be quite mouth watering. Shame we didnt pick up a few more points already or i would of been confident of picking up that 4th place
paul_ownz
Yeah Tom why don't we have Bendtner do what Villa does? Or Almunia Cassillas? Anyone see the Eboue interview this morning? Saying his relationship with fans has healed....?
shewore
This kit thing, if you ask me, the home kit for this season should have been like the away kit, just replace yellow (ish) with red, that darkish blue with white, and the narrow strips with whatever. A reversal of the away kit, basically. And they should then keep it like that for ever.
Gaga
Green kits should be for goalkeepers, end of! Red at home, yellow away, simple.
shewore
Ade is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is, bit of a Stan Collymore and in my opinion Wenger made a monumental ***** up in the summer which he may or may not recover from, not replacing key players is of course the obvious one, but also not selling Ade for a ridiculous amount of money, lack of confidence and form is understandable and forgivable, but even when this happens players can and should still give their all, I have no idea why bad attitudes are now excused at this club. I think the lesson from the summer is that indecision will hurt the club, Wenger needs to drop the players with bad attitude, forget about them, they are not going to magically turn into players who he and the team can rely on. Van Persie did not make a fuss in the summer, he is a far superior player to Ade, he has single handedly prevented Arsenal from being in the lower half of the league and he is not earning as much as Ade, can someone please explain why Arsenal went out of their way to elevate Ade to the status which matched his own ego? The good thing about the board is that they won't tolerate players on big wages who don't justify it, Ade's future at Arsenal is far from secure in my opinion.
Professor Calculus
To be honest, if we have all of Rosicky, Eduardo, Cesc, Arshavin, Nasri, RvP, Walcott, Adebayot, Bendtner, Vela. I think we look pretty jet set in terms of creativity/firepower. And Denilson can pick out a pass or two as well, you know. Maybe we are not as badly off as we've tended to feel. I dunno. It's very weird looking at how many of our performances have been dour this season, then going to the player profiles on .con and seeing all these lovely blokes in their nice red and white kits, nice photos, blokes potentially capable of playing some orgasmic stuff. It's weird. Just go to the players page on .con and you'll see how I mean. Seriously, even Bischoff looks like an all conquering midfield destroyer! I suppose the operative word here is "potentially".
Gaga
To be fair Prof, van Persie did complain in the summer that Arsenal don't pay high enough wages.
Little Dutch
@LD. Oh yeah, I remember now. He said something about Arsenal should pay higher wages to keep their bast players. He didn't hold Arsenal to ransom though or openly shamelessly flirt with other clubs thinking that he was the new Henry after one good season which was largely thanks to his team mates, as we are now seeing in the absence of those players. I'm just very very bored of average players with terrible attitudes getting such a free pass at the club.
Professor Calculus
Not that I totally disagree with the 'Ade's become lazy' comments, because I feel he is not showing as much energy as last season, but to be fair to the big man, he did pull a hamstring chasing a ball down on sunday. That's a fair effort. I think the service is poor for him this season - really poor. He either has to drift out to a crowded wing, or wait for a Toure long-ball, in order to bring himself into the game. I don't like the Ade backlash. Two of the best clubs in the world court you as their number one transfer target (whether it was real interest, or not. Worth adding that Ancelotti has recently restated his desire to sign Ade), you're gonna have your head turned aren't you? I mean, you are, you just are.
ChaosTeaCup
Also, do you think Ade's noticed that the Big-ben chant has pretty much disappeared from the stands. Whether he asked for it, or not, that's gonna hurt, knowing the fans don't even sing your name that much anymore. I just hope he comes back from injury, and puts some game in to quell the backlash.
ChaosTeaCup
The other thing to remember here is that when Cesc and Hleb were providing the service, they played the ball to Ade's chest. i.e. In order that he could do something with it. Toure et al smash it straight to his head (same with Bendtner), leaving him able to do very little. As well as affecting his performances, that's got to be very soul destroying too. I think Ade was always going to get a backlash this year regardless because of the way he behaved in the summer, that's something he's going to have to live with and perhaps he'll learn a lesson. RvP was not in any sort of form in the furst two months of the season and was let off by the fans. Such is life. And Prof, RvP will be renegotiating his contract in the coming months, I'd wait a little while yet before commending his behaviour!
Little Dutch
Also, I guess the manager can't really win here either. If he seels Ade, he's called a soft touch in the transfer market and comparisons with Fergie's stance over Ronaldo are wheeled out. When he sells a bad apple like Diarra, he's criticised for making an error of judgement. Had we sold Adebayor in the summer and been currently sitting in 5th, the knives would be out for Arsene now.
Little Dutch
Not if he'd replaced him with Villa ;-) You're right though he's got a lot to do to win us over again.
shewore
navy, I never said he was as good as Senna, but he could easily become better and do the same job.
Tom14
The manager can't win but that's because he got himself into a losing situation, everyone has to accept that, it's not a dig at Wenger, it happens to the best of them, but he and he alone created the team and the scenario of having a player like Ade as the main striker. I don't feel sorry for these footballers, I don't see why they should be so emotionally fragile, they are in the sports high performance industry, there are many other sports or performance based disciplines which are equally tough yet not so forgiving in terms of wages and the endless opportunities offered based on bad performances. I don't expect footballers to be angels but if they are going to have an attitude then they have to have to be good enough so that I can conveniently look away when their attitude kicks in. Henry was such a stroppy bitch in his final years at Arsenal but he had done more than enough for fans to tolerate this. What I don't like about Ade is that he is not that good and he has such an attitude, if Van Persie starts to act like a little bitch during contract negotiations then I will conveniently look away for now based on his current commitment and effort on the pitch during a difficult time for Arsenal. If Ade is merely a striker who can only score goals when his team mates are on fire then he is not worth the money he is currently on, if this is the limit of his ability and he is totally reliant on service from team mates then he should be valued as a useful player and not a top earner, I mean Ade apologists are basically saying. "He's bad right now because he is getting no service" Fine, accept that he's not a match winner then, he can't create goals out of nothing, he's not a top level striker therefore he should not be paid like one or thought of as one and therefore he can't get away with the attitude. Yes, right now no one provides Ade with much to work with, but the same was true when Bergkamp and Pires departed and Henry was left with scraps to feed on, his game went down but he still scored goals and he still scored solo efforts because he was genuine quality. If the accepted view of this team is that when they are off form then all things ***** are understandable and not really the players fault, then count me out, world class wages and status should be reserved for world class players, and world class players can make the difference regardless of personal or team form, that's why they are paid so much.
Professor Calculus
But he'not getting the service is he? And no matter how good a striker you are, you're only as good as your supply lines. True, great strikers can and do make goals out of nothing. But not every game, not every goal. On the other hand, Ade might not be getting the supply to score the goals from, but he is, rather ironically, our current best goal supply (assists).
ChaosTeaCup
@Chaos. So how does Van Persie manage to score goals without service? Hoe does Torres manage to score goals in a defensive overly cautious Liverpool side? How does Cahill manage to score headers against much taller defenders? Of course service is important but none of the above have had stellar service, instead they have had the ability to bring something extra to a stale team. My point is that Ade is fine if he is viewed as a useful player and not a world class striker, which is what the club have positioned and paid him as. In doing this they quite rightly expect some return even when the team is playing badly, even when there is little service. If it is wrong to expect an £80.000 a week player to bring something special to a stale team then all the other useful but not great players should be on the same wages. Any player can score goals when the team lays them on a plate 6 times a game, only quality players can drag teams out of a slump and score goals from nothing. Man utd do it all the time, they don't play well, create nothing and yet either one of Giggs, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, Scoles...will score. Now I can understand why those players are amongst the top earners at their club, what I can't understand is why a club would pay a player top wage and then not expect him to perform any greater than the other players earning considerably less. You can't bail out a player at the top of the club hierarchy by using those lower down the hierarchy as an excuse, you see how that's a self defeating logic? If you claim that those not considered important or good enough to earn top dollar are responsible for the crap form of those who are considered top dog then it's obvious top dog isn't top dog at all and is actually totally reliant on those well below him. The only conclusion is that you increase all others to the status of top dog and pay them the same or you realise that you are paying too much for a player who can't do anything to justify his special treatment.
Professor Calculus
I'm not looking to argue the point, merely state my opinion, as you are too. But nothing anybody has said will sway me from what I see with my own eyes practically every game, and that is, more often than not, we are a better team with Adebayor in it, than out of it. He's not perfect, he's not even as good as last season, but he's not lazy, he's not useless, and he's not loved.
ChaosTeaCup
Ok, sometimes he a little lazy, but that could be said of everyone currently in the (playing) squad.
ChaosTeaCup
I agree Chaos, I think Arsenal are a better team with Ade in it, and unfortunately that says a lot about this current team. I don't think Ade is useless I just don't think he is good enough to be considered the top striker at Arsenal which is what he has been positioned as. In many cases I think the wrong players have been put into positions which they can't do justice to, it's not the players fault but at the same time fans who were educated at the Wenger school of football can't pretend that average players are great or even good enough for Arsenal. Accepting players like Ade and Eboue is actually being more hurtful towards Wenger than those who come out and claim that those players aren't good enough, because they are basically accepting the demise of Wenger's high standards. I think Ade is fine surrounded by quality players, in that scenario it works, but I believe that the true quality of a player is exposed when his team are struggling or there are key injuries, the limit of Ade's abilities have been exposed in my opinion and I don't think he is a good enough player to be considered the top paid number one striker at a big club like Arsenal, especially during a youth experiment where the team will inevitably struggle at some stage. Wenger didn't sign Arshavin because he thinks his abilities will be totally limited by his team mates contribution, he signed him for an extra spark of quality. By promoting Ade to a top earning status the club are saying he is considered an extra spark of quality, I don't think he is that's all.
Professor Calculus
He certainly isn't this season, Prof, of that I cannot disagree. But the conditions when he signed were different. Last season he was the best striker in the league, only challenged by Torres, but Ade was scoring wondergoals, pass-into-the-net goals, and headers. His new contract was based on that (and to convince him to stay, which is dirty, but reality unfortunately), and whether or not you think the contract was more than his worth, you can't deny he was the shiznit last season. But your post is spot on, mate.
ChaosTeaCup
But here's the rub, Ade IS producing. 12 goals and 8 assists in spite of poor service and poor form is not bad at all. His stats match van Persie's at the moment. I'm not saying Ade is in the same class as Henry, but he is an absolutely key player for us and the way we play and that he offsets alot of our weaknesses. Strength, height, nuisance factor, goalscoring ability. No other player in the squad has this. It's telling that Adebayor scores more goals away from home than at home because he offers us something in difficult situations.
Little Dutch
Ade's form has been quite patchy this season, even though his stats stand upto scrutiny. He's not as bad as people are making him out to be this season, but he certainly doesnt deserve his current wages, looking at the EFFORT he puts in. I have no sympathy for Ade, coz he basically asked for this in the summer. He had to back up his talk, and he hasnt. A striker on 70K a week should have put away one of the two good chances he got against West Ham. He brings positives to our side, no doubt. However, last season, he actually did score goals of individual brilliance. So I dont totally buy the 'no service from midfield' theory this season. He has been provided a few chances and has not taken as much as he should.
prits
I agree with GoonerLou, Ade must grow his locks to get back into the scoring form. And what does it say about African Football if Ade is the best?!
hackneyval
 

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