After the end of season awards party has acknowledged the heroes of the season, it's time to look at those we'll miss next year. Bow your heads in respect with Profile365...
Before, United fans knew that even if Fergie messed up, it was OK because Fergie was there to clear it up. Now, uncertainty. Nothing is the same. Sh*t just got real...
Something happened in the East End of London on Monday night, and it was nothing to do with Gareth Bale. Okay, it was a bit - isn't everything these days? God, I am so sick of that guy - but his role was a minor, supporting one. Fifteen minutes from time, with Tottenham trailing 2-1, Bale hoisted a free-kick from the right hand side into what scientists call "the mixer". Fizz went the ball, whoops went Steven Caulker, donk went the ball on the back of his head, derp went the entire West Ham defence, thanks went Gylfi Sigurdsson, and bugger went the Boleyn. Tottenham were level.
That wasn't it, though. In amongst all the silly noises and general floundering could be found Emmanuel Adebayor, who upon seeing the loose ball had charged towards it, leapt into the air, unleashed a yell of triumph ... and missed. By some considerable distance. And to nobody's great surprise (except poor James Collins, who was completely banjaxed by the flying Togolese).
For Adebayor - who later in the game directed the simplest of headers straight at Jussi Jaaskaleinen - has been superhot bobbins for most of the season. His disappointing form is many things, not least of them predictable; as has been noted elsewhere, Adebayor's career tends to divide sharply into those periods where he needs to impress people and those where he doesn't. His best season for Arsenal preceded a fat new contract; one year after signing it, he was on his way to Manchester City. At City, he scored four in his first five, then fell away (though admittedly, managerial changes and a swelling squad didn't help). Last season - essentially a long audition for a permanent place at Tottenham - he played well and scored regularly; this, contract neatly tucked in his back pocket, he's looked as unarsed as a pair of chaps.
The obvious reading of such a pattern is that Adebayor is, at heart, a lazy sod. That his efforts, when expended, are done so for selfish reasons, for a contract or a transfer; that once tenure's secured, away goes the huff and puff and out come the slippers and pipe. That his performances are essentially an advert, designed to gull clubs into opening their wallets, then delivering sub-standard goods once the ink's dry and it's far too late. That he doesn't care for the struggle, or the cause, or the glory; only for the money.
This is, perhaps, uncharitable. It's also problematic, in that it doesn't really explain the curious transformation that Adebayor undergoes whenever Arsenal hove into view. Think back to his first season at Manchester City, and that celebration. Sprinting from one end of the pitch to the other doesn't seem to chime with the idea that he's a mercenary on the make, and not only because that's quite a lot of unnecessary effort. Whether you (tediously) decry the gesture as an act of disgraceful, unwarranted provocation, or (correctly) celebrate it as an act of hilarious, unwarranted provocation, it's hard to conclude that this is a man un-fussed by the wider scheme of things. See also his barmy cameo against Arsenal earlier this season, evidence of a man vibrating at a terrifyingly high frequency. Too-arsed, if anything.
Perhaps what's going on isn't the usual Bogardian hustle of a footballer on the make. Perhaps this is something stranger, a tale of broken-hearted loneliness. Adebayor: a man who rejected and was in turn rejected by Arsène Wenger, now doomed to roam the leagues in search of impossible happiness. Time after time he lights upon a club, and for a while everything's sunshine and violins, or at least running and goals. Bliss! Joy! Long-term contracts with plenty of zeroes! But soon the thrill of the rebound fades. He realises that his heart just isn't in it any more. Perhaps it never was. The sun goes down and the violins go Penderecki, the running stops and so do the goals. All is ash and misery.
If this were a romantic comedy, he'd be thrown back together with Wenger by some contrivance of circumstance and we'd watch, dewy-eyed and lumpen-throated, as they jilted the poor supporting characters at the altar and effect a glorious and life-affirming reunion. ("Is it raining? I hadn't noticed. I'm wearing a giant coat.") But this is football, and nobody does happy endings. Watching Adebayor struggle for commitment is already sad, as he is a unique and special talent when he can find it within himself to care. But watching him go from head-over-heels through head-in-hands to hands-on-hips, over and over again ... well, it's almost tragic.
Maybe that's too fanciful; maybe it's too generous. Maybe Adebayor is just a hustler; maybe he just really dislikes Arsenal. He certainly wouldn't be alone in that. But let's hope it's true, and that unhinged, furious, rejected Adebayor turns up this Sunday. Deep-rooted commitment issues may not be healthy for your career, but they make excellent entertainment for the neutral.
Everyone's a jounalism expert on internet forums. It makes me laugh.- HarryBoulton