Yesterday, Arsenal surprisingly lost to a previously out of form Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Riverside. Arsene Wenger’s men were somewhat out of touch throughout the whole game – with the old Arsenal coming back in the 94th minute where Arsenal scored their consolation goal through Tomas Rosicky. With a penalty in the first few minutes, Arsenal’s confidence disintegrated and so did Adebayor’s foot skills. Throughout the 2007/8 season, we have been witness to a new Adebayor – one which can swivel and place a ball with precision into the back of the net. However, yesterday, Adebayor seemed to be somewhat out of touch, completing one pass in which resulted in dispossession.
Ironically, Adebayor declared that his skills are the influence of the great and late Thierry Henry:
“Before this season a lot of people never even knew that there was a player called Emmanuel Adebayor. Some people didn’t know I existed!
“I came in for a lot of criticism when I first came to London. People said I’m not good in front of goal. The man who helped me come through all this was Thierry Henry.
“He was the club’s talisman and it was very difficult. I kept wondering if I was going to play or not, whether it was me or Robin Van Persie who was going to partner Thierry. I was concentrating on that rather than scoring goals and I started to lose confidence.
“Thierry was fantastic with me. He talked to me, taught me to do things in training. Most importantly, he told me to take risks. He said, ‘Don’t be in two minds when a ball comes, just make your decision and hit it’.
“It doesn’t matter if it goes into the crowd, like a lot of my shots were doing. When he left it was good for him but also good for me. It gave me a chance to show what I can do and now people know that there is a player called Emmanuel Adebayor. Thierry was a talisman, but now we are happy not having any talismans at Arsenal.
“Thierry said that my confidence would come back if I kept working and training and learning and he was right. So I want to thank him for helping me.”
Arsenal, and English football fans alike, loved and felt privileged to be allowed to see the works of a footballing genius, however, it can only be of negative effect to relate back to the past – in a sense, it can be argued that Adebayor should be playing his own style rather than that of the unique Thierry Henry. Should Adebayor set his own perimeters and boundaries, or should he stick to his idol Henry’s fast pace and quick thinking?