Friday 13 December 2019

No lethal intent in Eboue challenge

Emmanuel Eboue has defended his scissor tackle on Liam Ridgewell by insisting that he did not "want to kill" the Birmingham player in Saturday's Emirates Stadium clash.

The Arsenal midfielder clattered into the back of Ridgewell with both feet in Saturday's 2-1 win, which also saw Jack Wilshere dismissed for a reckless tackle on Nikola Zigic.

Eboue received only a yellow card for the challenge on Ridgewell but the 27-year-old admitted that referee Martin Atkinson had taken him aside after the match to warn him the tackle was dangerous.

Eboue admits he may have to temper his fast-paced approach to the game as a result but maintains that there was no malice in the challenge.

"When I tackled him I didn't want to kill him," said Eboue.

"When I did that tackle I didn't go through the back. I just wanted to touch the ball.

"The referee spoke to me after the game and said, 'Emmanuel I know you touched the ball but the tackle was very dangerous'.

"I just said, 'Okay, no problem'. Next time I will be more careful."

Wilshere's dismissal, which was Arsenal's third of the season, means that the Gunners currently sit third from bottom of the Premier League disciplinary table.

Manager Arsene Wenger reiterated his desire to see more protection for his players in his programme notes before Saturday's game.

After the match, the Frenchman insisted his side are not a dirty side - a sentiment which Eboue shares.

"We are not a dirty team," the Ivory Coast man said.

"Everyone knows we like to play football and make everyone happy when we play and we like to score.

"What happened on Saturday is finished. Now when we play we just have to play football and be careful on the pitch."

A thigh injury to Bacary Sagna means Eboue is likely to start at right-back in tomorrow's Champions League Group H match against Shakhtar Donetsk.

The match will see Croatia striker Eduardo return to the club where he spent three years before leaving for the Ukraine in a €6.8m deal this summer.

The 27-year-old spent much of his stay in north London recovering from a horrific broken leg which he suffered against Birmingham in 2008.

Eboue will be happy to welcome back his former team-mate.

He said: "Eduardo is still our brother. We love him a lot because when he was here he was so great to everyone so everyone respects him a lot.

"We are so happy to have him back to play against us."

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