Adebayor had an exceptional season last year. Even Wenger admitted that the Togolese striker had exceeded his expectations in terms of goals scored. Adebayor was challenged to produce the goods this season.
Unfortunately, many things have contributed to the goals not coming for Adebayor. Some of the blame must rest with Adebayor himself. As the goals have dried up, his misses have been more glaring this season. Matters are not helped when the big man makes public pronouncements about us not winning games when we should, especially as he is the main culprit. His efforts or lack of it has become a constant frustration for the fans.
The FA Cup replay saw a rejuvenated Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst, some of his misses were x-rated, he never stopped running, he chased every ball, even when we were winning 4-0, and he chased a ball down the wing and delivered a pin-point accurate cross which van Persie headed onto the post. Bendtner might have gone over the top with his “I must play every minute,” statement, but Arsenal fans will forget that if he puts in 100% effort. He has realised that he must improve his workload, he needs to hold the ball up better and link up with his teammates, based on one game and as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, neither does one game make a player, but he has improved tenfold.
Eduardo showed us what has been missing from our attack, movement and intelligence. Too often this season our attackers have been pedestrian, waiting for things to happen. This is not Eduardo’s style, he was constantly on the move, creating space, making himself a nuisance to mark, arriving in penalty area at the right moment and of course he is a natural finisher, give him half a chance and he will score.
Vela started a game for the first time, other than in the Carling Cup, against Cardiff. He was like a breath of fresh air, making runs, dribbling, linking with Eduardo and constantly looking to score. It will not be long before he opens his league account with a well deserved goal. Carlos Vela will have to be content with a substitute’s role, but we have seen enough of him this season to know that he will develop, sooner rather than later into a top striker.
There is no need to elaborate on the abilities and skills of van Persie; this boy is a creator, goal scorer, everything, over the next few seasons we will see develop into one of Europe’s top strikers.
With the other strikers bucking their ideas up, coming back from injury, that leaves Arsene Wenger with a major headache…Adebayor. Undoubtedly, he has major potential, but in the Premier League you cannot wait for potential to develop. He showed us last season what he is capable of doing and that was without a regular partner. Adebayor can no longer be considered an automatic first choice and this will not go down with the African Player of Year. With the plethora of strikers at Arsene’s disposal, any body that is not performing will not be picked, it does not matter who they are. Adebayor needs to take the next four weeks and look at his performances and ask himself, is he playing to his full potential, is he really putting in the maximum into every game, what about his first touch is it the best or does he need to improve and is he as lethal in front of goal as he should be. If he was honest he would answer no to those questions.
To reclaim his first team place Adebayor needs to knuckle down in training, stop messing around and when the opportunities arise to come off the bench he must grab them and prove to everyone that he is not a one season wonder. He must put pressure on van Persie, Eduardo and Bendtner; they need to know that one bad game and Wenger can rely upon him to score the goals.
The competition to lead the attack is now fierce at Arsenal, no player is guaranteed to start, they need to earn that place and Adebayor needs to realise this sooner rather than later.