Manchester City will host Arsenal tomorrow in a game which could be crucial for both sides this season. But for one man the game will be a chance to erase some dark memories of the last time Arsenal visited Eastlands.
Emmanuel Adebayor is in line for a rare Premier League start after an impressive midweek hat-trick against Lech Poznan in the Europa League. The former Arsenal man was in excellent form against the Polish side, and will no doubt be in the mood to hurt his ex teammates.
Last season Adebayor, quite literally did just that, with a crude stamp on Robin Van Persie. It completed a controversial performance which also saw the towering forward run the length of the field to celebrate in-front of the visiting Arsenal fans.
Adebayor admitted he got caught up in the emotion of the game that day, but if he is to make the most of this rare chance to impress Roberto Mancini, he must make sure he keeps his emotions in check this time round.
When the Gunners visited City last season, Adebayor was an integral part of the City attack, but ever since Mancini took charge, the Togo forward has found himself used as a fringe member of the squad.
Mancini’s insistence on a hard to beat side has meant that a 4-5-1 formation is a must, meaning that Adebayor has to compete with Carlos Tevez for a starting place. Unfortunately for Adebayor, Tevez is seen like a talisman amongst the blue half of Manchester, and displacing him has proved very difficult.
But there is no doubting his ability to score goals, and a natural goalscorer is perhaps the only thing that the City squad do miss. However the only way for Adebayor to convince Mancini he is the man to fire City to glory is to make sure he makes the most of the opportunities when they arise.
He did just that with his hat-trick in midweek, and goals like that may just have convinced the Italian manager to include Tevez and Adebayor in the side together. Now it is crucial for striker that the two can combine, because if they don’t he could be set for another long spell on the fringes of the City side.
The pressure on Adebayor has been greatened by the return to the matchday squad of Italian striker Mario Balotelli. The young forward was one of the major signings for Mancini in the summer, and that would suggest that he is probably ahead of Adebayor in the City pecking order.
So this game really could be crucial for Adebayor. Not just because he is getting an opportunity to make people forget about his antics last season, but for his whole City career.