Sport Soccer

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Emmanuel Adebayor happy at Crystal Palace and not fazed by Arsenal fans' boos

Crystal Palace's Emmanuel Adebayor, centre, came on as a substitute against Arsenal
Crystal Palace's Emmanuel Adebayor, centre, came on as a substitute against Arsenal

Emmanuel Adebayor is enjoying life at Crystal Palace and will "forget about all the haters" after being roundly jeered at Arsenal on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Togo striker came off the bench against his former club to set up Yannick Bolasie's late equaliser as the Eagles sealed a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

Alexis Sanchez had opened the scoring for the hosts on the stroke of half-time but, having been pegged back, the Gunners remained fourth in the Barclays Premier League.

On what was a largely forgettable afternoon in north London, the arrival of Adebayor into the contest on 64 minutes attracted the most noise within the stadium.

Adebayor left for Manchester City in 2009 and sparked outrage among fans when he celebrated a goal by running the length of the field to celebrate in front of the visiting Arsenal supporters.

He has since gone on to play for fierce rivals Tottenham before joining Palace in January, and knew he was always going to get a hostile reaction on another return to his former side.

"It is not my first time coming back to play against Arsenal at the Emirates," he said.

"You can see when I was on the bench and warming up and they were booing me I was just laughing. I cannot say I'm used to it because it is not good to get used to this kind of stuff.

"But at the end of the day it is funny, the weather was good, we were playing in London and 20 minutes from my house, I have to be happy. If I'm not happy then something is wrong.

"For me, at the end of the day I have to be happy about where I came from and what I have become today - I have to forget about all the haters.

"All the Arsenal fans boo me and when I look back I understand where everything went wrong but there are certain things in life you cannot come back to any more. You just look at it and say, 'okay, I made a mistake'.

"We all do things at some stage of our lives that we are not supposed to do, but the most important thing is to keep moving."

Adebayor has overcome a minor groin injury suffered on international duty and will now be hoping to play a part in getting Palace to an FA Cup final when they take on Watford in the Wembley semi-final on Sunday.

Despite playing for Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham, Adebayor has never won a trophy in English football and admits it would rank as one of his greatest achievements if he can get to a final with Alan Pardew's Eagles.

"I played with three big clubs in England with Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, and I've got the chance to go to Wembley with the smallest among those four clubs I have played for and it is even more beautiful," he said.

"It means this club has something special. They have a good manager and a good team and we don't play the best football sometimes, which is normal because of the players we have got - but trust me it is a beautiful club and I am just enjoying myself again.

"It would be one of the best (achievements) in my career. I did not play in the FA Cup final for Arsenal, Manchester City or Tottenham. For me it would be my best moment in England."

While Palace look ahead to their semi-final, Arsenal face up to the fact they could kick off against West Brom on Thursday night just one point clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Their title charge is all but over and goalkeeper Petr Cech, who should have done better with Bolasie's late leveller, acknowledged Arsenal missed their chance after leaders Leicester had drawn at home to West Ham earlier on Sunday.

"We should've seen the game off," the Czech said. "This is obviously two very important points that's we've dropped.

"We've been talking about the situation where if any of the teams ahead of us slip, we need to get three points but unfortunately we've not been able to do that. It's disappointing.

"We were ready to push on, we tried to win all our games and we will try to win all the remaining games too.

"Other teams are coming very close now and there will be an interesting fight until the end of the season. Let's see if winning all our games is going to be enough to get higher up in the table."

Press Association

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