Togo No Go

Below is the match report which barely mentions the shock of that horrendous miss by Emmanuel Adebayor away to Portsmouth in 2006.

http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/0708portsmouth-1-1-arsenal-match-report

It is exhibit A in the case against the off-form striker. That miss made me as angry with an Arsenal player as I’ve ever been. I questioned his ability to ever make the grade. 

Exhibit B is the player’s public fallout with Niklas Bendnter. That it happened versus Spurs made it infinitely more embarrassing.

Exhibit C is the player’s inconsistency. We’re seeing it in full bloom at the moment. 

Yesterday was a match in which Togo had to score. Instead, he disappointed almost every Arsenal fan who watched the game. Many wrongly directed their anger at the man who for the first 20 minutes was the most effective player on the pitch, Emanuel Eboue – he being the default scapegoat since nary a bad word could be said about the solid performance by ex-captain William Gallas. In reality it was Adebayor who was absolutely dismal.

While I admit having made a drastic turn around from harsh critic to sincere, patient, and admiring supporter of the player since that miss at Fratton Park, I can no longer point to the extreme work rate, the near record-breaking output of 30 goals last season, nor his commitment to our cause as positives. In a troubled season, his has been a poor return on a well publicized promotion.

My disappointment peaked yesterday when Carlos Vela delivered a ball to the big man’s feet from the left wing position, deep inside West Ham territory. Togo managed to lose the ball and instead of making what became his trademark sprint after the lost ball, he ambled back from deep within the offensive third as West Ham tried to pretend they had an interest in attacking. Vela was next seen recovering the ball on the righttouch line, inside Arsenal territory – he covered the amount of ground and made the kind of effort that would normally make one forgive Adebayor’s wage dispute with the club last summer. The same club that he himself admitted has given him the platform to be a marquis name.

Yesterday’s three points were absolutely vital. I was at The Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day 2008 for the same fixture. Eduardo opened the scoring with a typical Eduardo clinical finish. Togo would later score an amazing goal from what seemed and impossible angle. He worked hard all match, causing Matthew Upson and Co. all manner of problems. Yesterday’s less than mediocre performance by the team in general and Togo in particular just about ended out title hopes. My only solace is that for much of last season, we were top dogs and cruising. I never give up but it looks very difficult indeed.

If selected for Tuesday’s FA Cup replay, anything less than a Man of the Match display from the under-performing striker will leave his value to the club in major doubt. I will no longer be able to defend him when his critics point out that six of his 30 goals last season were scored against relegated Derby County. I will no longer be able to defend him when they question his commitment. I will no longer be able to hold back my anger with him when he fails to hold his end of the controversially re-negotiated deal his agent forced on the club during the close season.

I might have to accept that Togo can go.

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