Revitalised Adebayor issues rallying call

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The Independent Football

Emmanuel Adebayor's hat-trick on Saturday against Blackburn Rovers will have gone a fair way to persuade those supporters disgruntled at his flirtatious behaviour with Milan in the summer that he is now fighting solely for the Arsenal cause. A few more goals in a successful Champions League campaign and the striker's dalliance will be all but forgotten.

Adebayor has another chance to win over his doubters and to earn some of his new improved wages tonight in Ukraine where Arsenal take on Dynamo Kiev in the first match of their Group G campaign. The Togolese is desperate to return to the stage he narrowly missed out on gracing back in 2004 when he was an unused substitute for Monaco when Jose Mourinho's Porto beat them in the European Cup final.

"We have every chance to win the Champions League with Arsenal," he said yesterday. "I had the chance to be in the final with Monaco, but I was on the bench and I could see all these special things going on. Then with Arsenal, I could not play because I was cup-tied and in my head it was difficult – but now I have a chance to play so there is an argument for me to be more hungry than most of my team-mates.

"However, I am not the only one. Cesc [Fàbregas] and Kolo [Touré] lost in the [2006] final as well and so all these players would like to win it in their career. These are the things that we are going to pin together as brothers and help each other on the pitch and off the pitch and try to achieve something this season.

"I do not know whether we are going to win the Champions League or the Premier League – but we have to achieve something because we have the quality within the squad. We just have to believe in the squad and believe in ourselves to do it.

"I know if I have the chance to win something like the Champions League with a team like Arsenal I will be very happy and very glad."

Arsenal – who came through a qualifier against FC Twente to make the group stages – have recovered from the setback of defeat at Fulham to record three straight wins, scoring 11 goals without reply.

Adebayor is happy to be back in form, finally getting his domestic account up and running. "My confidence has always been high because I have had a few chances," he said. "I know if I keep working hard for the team and we keep on playing the football for the team, you always have a chance to score.

"Those are the things that I always put in my head and it made the goals that went in on Saturday against Blackburn easy. For me, the most important thing is to work hard for the team and I think up until now I have been doing that quite well. I am very happy and for sure my confidence is higher than before."

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger maintains Group G will not be easy for the Gunners, especially as they will be without the injured Samir Nasri tonight meaning Theo Walcott is likely to retain his place. Mikael Silvestre is also still struggling with a thigh injury. Turkey's Fenerbahce and the former winners Porto make up the group.

While a win in the Stadion Valeriy Lobanovskyi would put them on course, Arsenal do not have the best of records in the old Soviet bloc – losing on their last visit to Moscow, against CSKA two years ago, while also going down twice to the Ukrainians in 1998 and again in 2003.

Adebayor said: "A lot of people think it is going to be an easy one – but I do not. We know that playing in Ukraine is going to be very difficult, especially because their players are playing in front of their fans and will be doing everything to win the game. But we are Arsenal – we just have to believe in ourselves and, if we can, play our football. If we can stay patient, score the goals then we will win the game. That is what we are going there for."

Arsenal (probable): Almunia; Sagna, Touré, Gallas, Clichy; Eboué, Fàbregas, Denilson, Walcott; Van Persie, Adebayor.

Dynamo Kiev's player to watch

Oleksandr Shovkovskiy

Still just 33, Dynamo's goalkeeper and captain is a veteran of 550 games and 84 Champions League fixtures. Kiev-born, he is a prodigious penalty stopper, saving three in one match with Shakhtar.

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