Adebayor jeered as Arsenal endure another pre-season setback

Other News Materials 3 August 2008 01:32 (UTC +04:00)

(AFP) - Arsenal's uncomfortable pre-season shows no signs of improving as Emmanuel Adebayor was jeered by his own fans during Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Juventus in the Emirates Cup.

Coach Arsene Wenger will want to forget this pre-season friendly in a hurry after David Trezeguet's first half strike punished a subdued display from the young stars he has placed so much faith in.

More worryingly for the Gunners manager, he had to endure the unsettling sensation of hearing his star striker given a hostile reception before kick-off.

Adebayor's revelation that he is set to sign a new improved contract after weeks of speculation that the Togo striker wanted to leave didn't seem to appease the Gunners faithful, who loudly booed his name when the stadium announcer read out the teams.

It has been that kind of close-season at the Emirates, with discontent never far from the surface despite the team's undoubted potential.

The departures of Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva haven't shaken Wenger's belief that Arsenal can mount a sustained challenge for the title.

But while it is far too soon to write off Arsenal, the feeling remains that Wenger's policy of signing gifted young prodigies instead of proven talent will leave Arsenal destined to enthrall the purists rather than carry off major honours again.

Several of the likely key figures in Arsenal's season including Adebayor, William Gallas and new signing Samir Nasri were among the substitutes ahead of Sunday's clash with Real Madrid, while Cesc Fabregas was absent from the squad.

So a bumper crowd of over 60,000 got a glimpse of some of Wenger's starlets in a youthful side including Welsh teenager Aaron Ramsey, a five million pounds signing from Cardiff, and Spanish striker Carlos Vela, the stand-out of Arsenal's pre-season to date.

Ramsey was tidy but relatively anonymous but Jack Wilshere, one of the few English graduates of Wenger's academy, caught the eye early on when the 16-year-old tested Gianluigi Buffon with a fine volley.

Although both teams are preparing for Champions League qualifiers in two weeks time, it was Juventus who played with more intensity.

Trezeguet had the ball in the net in the 35th minute but his header was ruled out for offside.

The Juventus striker appeared to be offside again when he turned in a 37th minute free-kick but this time, while Arsenal's defenders appealed in vain for a flag, Trezeguet's toe-poked effort was allowed to count.

Adebayor came on at half-time, to another mixed reception from crowd, and gave Arsenal's attack a more threatening look.

Emmanuel Eboue shot wide from Adebayor's pass before Wenger sent on France midfielder Nasri for his Emirates bow.

Nasri, a 12 million pounds signing from Marseille, showed a couple of nice touches but it was Adebayor who continued to cause Juventus more concern.

He brought Buffon into action with a towering header from Bacary Sagna's cross, then shot over from close range when he should have hit the target.

It was a miss that summed up his and Arsenal's day.