Adebayor insists Eboué will come good again

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Support for Emmanuel Eboué was in short supply at the Emirates on Saturday but yesterday his Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor gave him some backing and predicted the midfielder would return to action stronger than ever.

Eboué was making his first appearance after almost six weeks out with a knee problem against Wigan at the weekend, coming on to replace the injured Samir Nasri during the first half. However, he suffered the ignominy of being taken off with a couple of minutes left following a run of woeful touches, one of which involved dispossessing his team-mate Kolo Touré before passing to a Wigan player, that had some members of the Emirates crowd voicing their displeasure and left the manager, Arsène Wenger, fearing that another lapse in concentration could lead to his team conceding a costly late goal.

"We all fight together and I feel sorry for Emmanuel Eboué," said Adebayor, who had put an arm round Eboué as he was taken off on Saturday. "He is one of my best mates. The fans booed him. However, that is football. He is going to be back stronger than ever. We are all sad for him because he has been out for more than a month and it was his first game back, so it was a bit difficult for him. But we are all going to talk to him and, hopefully, he will be back soon."

He may even be back by tomorrow night as Wenger has indicated he intends to include Eboué in the squad that head out to Porto today for their final Champions League group match – a need that has been exacerbated by Nasri's latest ankle injury concern and the continued absences of Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky, who is not expected to be back in action until March at the earliest.

William Gallas missed the Wigan game with a calf problem, but could come back into contention for the trip to Portugal, where a win would secure Arsenal top spot and a supposed more favourable draw in the last 16. The midfielder Abou Diaby, who has been troubled by a stomach muscle problem, is close to a first-team return, while the striker Eduardo is progressing well. The Croat has been out since suffering a broken leg in February, but is scheduled for a run-out with the reserves against Portsmouth next Tuesday.