Adebayor hails vital win

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Emmanuel Adebayor claims Arsenal's victory at Chelsea has "sent a message" to the rest of the Barclays Premier League that the Gunners are still very much in the title race.

Arsene Wenger's side recovered from the setback of going behind to an own goal from Johan Djourou at Stamford Bridge yesterday when Dutchman Robin van Persie netted a second-half brace - the first with more than a hint of offside.

Their win was a first in the league since beating Manchester United on 8 November, and helped claw Arsenal back to within seven points of the Blues after previous back-to-back defeats.

While Liverpool can extend that gap with victory over West Ham at Anfield tonight, Adebayor is no doubt the Gunners' performance was a clear signal that there is still a lot of football left in their team, and that they have regrouped following a troubled spell which saw William Gallas stripped of the captaincy after making public criticisms of the squad.

"It is a very big win because we went through a lot of difficult moments and people wrote us off in the Premiership. Now this is a message that we have sent out," Adebayor told BBC London Radio.

"We believe in ourselves, we can do something.

"Forget about what happened - we are always together. We always believed we can do something and these are the kind of results we can show again."

Togo striker Adebayor added: "It would have been very difficult had we lost, but we would have never said the title was finished.

"We want to keep on going until the end of the season.

"We know we have a great team, a great squad, everyone is ready for it.

"Now everyone can see we have kept our title dreams alive and the more important thing now is to keep going."

While Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was left incensed by the decision not to rule Van Persie offside for his first goal, calling for an apology from referee Mike Dean and his assistant, the Dutch forward maintains such incidents are all part and parcel of the game.

Van Persie said: "I scored a goal against Chelsea [in a 2-0 home defeat in December 2005]. I was onside, but the ref gave it offside and it didn't count.

"This time was maybe a little bit offside, but it counted and that's all that matters."

The Arsenal forward hailed his team's fighting spirit.

"In the last 20 minutes we showed a lot of character so the whole team deserve a big compliment," he said.

"When you are playing against Chelsea on their ground and go 1-0 down, you know it is going to be really difficult."

Arsenal return to action in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup at Coca-Cola Championship side Burnley tomorrow, where Wenger is again expected to field a mix of his promising youth and reserve players.