Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Adebayor feels ‘knifed’ as Keane hits back at Rafa and his critics

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor hit out at Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa for acting like he had been "knifed" in the challenge which resulted in his sending off during today’s 1-1 draw with Barclays Premier League leaders Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.

The Togo frontman was shown a second yellow card by referee Howard Webb on the hour mark after challenging for the ball with the Reds full-back, who fell to the ground dramatically clutching his face.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was incensed, but replays suggested Adebayor had indeed gone in with a raised boot, rather than a flaying arm, and as such probably merited a caution.

The Arsenal forward, though, defended his actions, insisting he was merely shielding the ball and called on referee Webb to acknowledge his "mistake".

"I hope when the referee goes home and watches it on the TV, he will see it was a foul, but I didn’t deserve a card," Adebayor said. "It was a mistake from him.

"He said it was for the leg, but if I don’t put my body in there I would never score a goal in this league.”

Adebayor — whose other caution came in the first half for leaving his foot in against Emiliano Insua — declared: "The defender threw himself on the floor as if I put a knife in him.

"Of course I’m annoyed. We are all here to play and if you win or lose you have to do it with 11.

"I cannot say he cheated, but what he did wasn’t fair play at all."

Wenger was also less than impressed with the decision.

"It was very soft," he said.

"Every week when we play away from home people say teams get in our faces and we can’t cope with it. Do you want me to show you our players when we play away?

"It is a joke. The first booking wasn’t justified either. It is just unbelievable.

"If he sends Adebayor off, he has to sent [Robbie] Keane off in the first half. We have two different rules.

"It could have cost us two points. I don’t agree with the referee’s decision at all. Ask Arbeloa, [Jamie] Carragher was next to them, they know Adebayor didn’t touch him."

Robin van Persie had fired the Gunners ahead with a fine strike on 24 minutes, only for Keane to equalise ahead of the interval when the home defence failed to deal with a high ball up field.

Arsenal remain eight points off the leaders, and are down in fifth place. However, Wenger insisted his men were not out of the championship race.

He said: "The title is won in May and we are in December. Mathematically we will fight until the end. I believe Liverpool will drop many points. I am convinced of that.”

Arsenal’s frustrations were made worse by the loss of captain Cesc Fabregas at half-time with a knee injury which could keep him out of the festive programme.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had stayed back in Merseyside recovering from an operation on his troublesome kidney stones.

Benitez used a phone link with his goalkeeping coach to keep touch with events at Emirates Stadium.

Assistant Sammy Lee said:

"His bill will be quite big . We kept in touch before and during the game. It is great testament to his professionalism because he has been in a lot of pain.

"I hope he can settle down and get 100% right for the schedule."

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