Emmanuel Adebayor has spoken out about his relationship with Arsenal strike partner Robin van Persie.
The Togolese forward suggested that the two players – who, consequently, have now scored thirteen goals between them this season – are performing well because of the understanding they have gained about each other’s style of play.
“The understanding between us is magnificent. He likes to have the ball at his feet more than I do. He likes to get off the front line and he has the technical skills to do that. I am tall, I can climb high and I can go deep. I am more of a pivot for the team.”
You have to agree with that, considering the amount of goals that the pair have scored so far this season. What is really interesting about their partnership up front is that they rarely play directly off one another unlike, say, Fernando Morientes and David Villa at Valencia. Adebayor, as he mentioned, plays the role of the target man and while he is doing this job with great success, the truth is that his headers and chests down are usually aimed for the midfielders running through than for his strike partner van Persie. In situations where Adebayor is presenting well for the midfield you’ll probably notice that van Persie will stay well clear, preferring to take up a dangerous position of his own in the penalty area. This clever positioning whilst the defence has been focused on stopping his partner has seen van Persie score crucial goals against West Ham, Steaua Bucharest and Sunderland in recent weeks.
I’ve often commented about van Persie’s tendency to go quiet for long periods in a match and then suddenly pop up with a crucial goal before the end. Whilst Adebayor does not possess the finishing ability of the Dutchman it is his ability to stay involved in a game for the full 90 minutes that suggests why the two are working so well together, despite the fact that they rarely interact directly. It is clear in the style of play that Wenger is employing that he does not want the two strikers to work together in a direct way, but wants the midfield players like Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb and Tomas Rosicky to interact with Adebayor and create chances for van Persie. A bucketload of goals from a variety of players suggests it’s working well so far.
Toure wants ball to keep rolling
Another man who is happy with how things are going for the club (who wouldn’t be) is stand-in captain Kolo Toure. The Ivorian spoke recently about the confidence flowing through the side at the moment and the way the boys are using it to push on and get the result in tight matches like the one against Sunderland on the weekend.
“We always go on and get the winner at the moment. I think it’s really important for the team to keep on winning because when it’s like that the confidence goes higher and higher. We are doing that very well and the hardest thing is just to keep going.”
There is an unintentional hidden message of warning in Toure’s comments. While things are going well it’s natural to feel like you’re always going to win and that is certainly the case with the team at the moment. What will be the biggest challenge – and Patrice Evra has also alluded to this – is how the team respond to their first defeat. If the mentality is right then the first loss should be followed by a more positive result straight away but, as you will probably remember in the case of ‘The Invincibles’, one defeat can have a big impact on a side’s confidence and form.
The other thing to remember is that the longer the side remains at the top of the table, the greater the challenge is to stay there. If the boys can maintain the good run of results then the pressure will start to mount on the likes of Manchester United and if they drop a few points in the next month or two the gap could widen quite substantially. Another win over Bolton in the Premiership will mean that Wenger’s side should go into the games against Liverpool and Manchester United knowing that a draw would be a positive result. And wins, well, they would be magic.
What’s certain is that Arsenal’s great start to the season has give them every chance to be in with a say at the end of the season. The media will harp on about Arsenal not facing a real challenge yet this season but the fact is that the boys have done superbly well in some tough matches without the services of some experienced players in William Gallas, Tomas Rosicky, Jens Lehmann and Gilberto Silva. The young players are doing well and there’s no reason to suggest that when Liverpool and Manchester United come to town, they won’t be ready for them.
What do you think?
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