Adebayor targets vital away goal

Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor is focused on silencing the Old Trafford boo-boys with another crucial European away goal tomorrow night.

The 25-year-old has shrugged off a hamstring problem and will be fresh to face Champions League holders Manchester United in the semi-final, first leg after starting on the bench for the win over Middlesbrough on Sunday, which saw the Gunners extend their unbeaten league run to 20 matches.

The Togo striker netted a magnificent scissor-kick to secure an away goal against Villarreal in the last round and would like nothing more than to grab another in the Red Devils’ own backyard.

“When you get onto the pitch the people around will be singing against you, they will be hating you, and that can give you more motivation,” said Adebayor, who scored in the league at Old Trafford last season and bagged the winner there in September 2006.

“I know they do not like me there because I managed to get a goal, and you just feel like ’Okay, I will show you again how good I am.’

“In three games there I have scored two goals and I know it will not be easy to get another one, but I will give 100%, to do everything it takes to score or to help my team win the game.”

Six of Adebayor’s 16 goals this season have come in Europe and he added on Arsenal TV Online: “As a player, two or three days before the game you close your eyes and put yourself in every difficult situation, in front of the goal, at a free-kick or a corner, how you are going to finish if you are in front of the keeper one-v-one.

“Those are the things you have to imagine. If you are not doing that then you will never score because what you can do on the pitch is what you have prepared for in your head before it comes.

“As soon as the head asks for something, the body will follow.”

United were beaten 2-1 at Emirates Stadium in November, and there will be another meeting between the pair in the Barclays Premier League on May 16.

“We know how good they are and it is going to be an exciting game for English football,” Adebayor said.

“It is going to be tough, but we just have to believe we can do it, that we can win this cup. That is why we are here.

“We have the quality in the squad and are in form.”

The Gunners may head to the north west without the services of injured leading scorer Robin van Persie and Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin, who is ineligible, but there will still be plenty of forward threat for Alex Ferguson’s men to be on their guard.

England forward Theo Walcott was deployed to great effect on the right side of a five-man midfield which proved too much for Villarreal to handle in the last round.

With Frenchman Samir Nasri the outlet on the other flank in support of Adebayor, captain Cesc Fabregas has been given license to roam, backed up by a defensive midfield duo of Denilson and Alex Song.

Walcott is in no doubt about just what damage an on-song Gunners frontline can cause.

“We always look to keep a clean sheet and, with the attacking players we have got in this team, we can score goals from all sorts of positions,” Walcott told BBC Sport.

“If we can get a goal, that would a brilliant result for us. The tempo is going to be very quick, a bit like a Premier League match.”

Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre is hopeful of being fit to face his former club despite sustaining a back injury against Boro, but regular left-back Gael Clichy (back) is still out, so youngster Kieran Gibbs will deputise again.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and centre-back Johan Djourou both made a timely return to action at the weekend and are expected to feature at Old Trafford.

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