By Richard Clarke
Tottenham fans must hate the sight of Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Arsenal striker has hit eight goals in his last eight North London derbies, including two in the fixture at White Hart Lane last season.
Arsène Wenger’s side return to N17 on Sunday with the Togolese targetman in the middle of a rare dry spell. Adebayor has found the net just once in his last seven outings but, if history is anything to go by, the 24-year-old could not wish for a more fortuitous fixture.
“Adebayor has a good record against Tottenham,” said Wenger at Friday’s pre-match press conference. “But we have good players and simply that is the best reason to explain it.
“Before him, Robert Pires had a good record. Sometimes, I thought about not playing him at the start because it was [a] kicking and tackling game and he was not a tackling player. Then I would put him on at half time and he turned up with a goal because he was relaxed.”
Last season, Adebayor enjoyed a prolific campaign. His tally of 30 goals put him only behind Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Golden Boot. With two-thirds of the campaign gone, the former Monaco striker has 12 goals this season but his tally of assists has leapt from five to eight.
It was thought that the form, fitness and consistency of Robin van Persie had split the attacking statistics this season. However Wenger believes Adebayor’s exploits last summer, when he was linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium, affected the start of his season.
“I believe we have always tried to set good scoring and assists records," said the manager. "I am convinced that Adebayor has not been affected by Van Persie's successful season. Van Persie has been so successful because he has played in every game.
“I believe that at the start Adebayor was a little bit disturbed thinking 'do I go'.
"But he is getting back on track slowly now and I'm sure the goals will come.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Feb 2009