African Nations Cup could cost Manchester City, says Adebayor


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The Independent Football

Emmanuel Adebayor believes the wheels could come off Manchester City's title challenge when they lose Yaya Toure for the African Nations Cup next year.

City have enjoyed a near-faultless start to their Barclays Premier League campaign, losing just once in their opening 17 matches to open up a two-point gap on Manchester United at the top of the table.

Roberto Mancini has rotated his squad on a regular basis, but Yaya Toure has been one of the few to maintain a regular place in the starting XI thanks to his tireless displays in midfield.

However, Mancini will have to do without the former Barcelona man for up to a month next year as he heads to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to take part in the African Nations Cup along with his brother and City team-mate Kolo Toure.

And Adebayor, who is on loan at Spurs from City, thinks losing both players will be a big challenge that he hopes Tottenham can take advantage of.

"They have two players going to the African Nations Cup. Kolo Toure is not playing a lot but he is a great player," Adebayor said. "Yaya Toure has been amazing for them this year.

"We will have to wait and see (how they cope). In football you can have two or three injuries in a week. That has happened to us recently.

"City have a great team, a great spirit and at the moment they are playing good football, but if they got a couple of injuries I think it would be very difficult for them."

The tournament takes place from January 21 to February 12, during which time City face Spurs, Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa, while both players will also miss the game against Wigan on January 16 due to the Ivory Coast's training camp.

Chelsea will lose Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, while Arsenal will be without Gervinho.

Cameroon's failure to qualify, and Togo's ban, mean that Spurs will not lose any of their players, leaving Adebayor buoyant about his side's chances of boosting their title chances if injuries to the likes of Aaron Lennon, Rafael van der Vaart and Jermain Defoe clear up.

"We will have everyone here when the African Nations Cup is on," the 27-year-old said. "Now we just have to hope that all our players come back fit very soon because we have Lennon out for a couple of weeks maybe.

"Gareth Bale got a kick again on the ankle against Chelsea. Hopefully it is not too bad. We just have to keep doing our thing, keep enjoying ourselves, and if we get all our players fit we can expect something."

Tottenham lost ground in the title race on Thursday when they only managed a draw against Chelsea, despite going into the match as favourites and taking an early lead.

Harry Redknapp's men lie nine points off the summit with a game in hand and Adebayor is confident that the north London club can lift the trophy in May for the first time in 51 years.

"Can we win the title? Why not?" Adebayor said. "Don't get me wrong, Man City are first at the moment but they still have to play all the big clubs.

"The first half of the season is over. We are going to attack January very soon so are they going to keep their football like the way they are now until the end of the season? I don't know. We will have to wait and see."