Robin van Persie has risked reigniting his feud with former Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor after it was announced that the two will face each other in the Carling Cup quarter-finals early next month.
Arsenal will travel to Manchester City at the beginning of December in a rematch of the fiery encounter at Eastlands in September, which saw Adebayor receive a three-match ban for stamping on Van Persie's face, a challenge the Arsenal star described as "mindless and malicious".
When asked about the Carling Cup tie, Van Persie expressed excitement about the possibility of going head-to-head with the City striker again, and hinted that there was unfinished business between the pair.
He admitted he will ask Arsène Wenger to pick him for the match at Eastlands. "Nice. I want to play in that. I'd love to play. If the boss decides to let me play, I'm happy," Van Persie said. Wenger, the Arsenal manager, traditonally selects a side full of youngsters for Carling Cup matches.
Meanwhile, Adebayor has spoken out again about the incident during his side's 4-2 victory on 12 September, in which he also controversially celebrated scoring City's third goal by sliding on his knees in front of the Arsenal supporters. In contrast to Van Persie's comments, the Togo striker said there was no bad blood between the two and apologised for his actions that day.
When asked if he regretted the clash with Van Persie, Adebayor said: "Of course, yes. I saw Robin in the tunnel [after the game] and I told him: 'I'm very sorry for what happened.' He's like: 'Why, why you do that?' and I told him: 'Robin, I don't know, that does happen, I'm sorry.' And at the time he told me 'OK it's fine'."
On his goal celebration, which outraged Arsenal fans and led to ground security officials having to stop supporters charging onto the pitch to confront him, Adebayor said he was repentant but it was insults from the away support that led him to act that way. He said: "When I come to the stadium, for me it was a special game because you're playing against your former team and was coming up against people who were like brothers.
"When I get to the tunnel and see my friends, I try to shake their hands... but they don't want to shake my hand and it was a shock. I felt very hurt. After that I thought – OK, that's part of life and I just have to deal with it. After that, when I get on the pitch and when I hear some singing insulting my dad, insulting my mum, I think, we can't take everything. We are only human beings. We have all got our limit. You can insult me, you can judge me on the pitch, that's normal. But don't touch my family, I love them more than everything on this earth. So when I heard fans singing, insulting my family, yes, then my mind was like, I had to respond. I don't have a choice.
"I cannot go into the fans and start shouting, I cannot do anything, better way to respond is to score a goal against them. And that is what I managed to do. At that time, emotions took over me and I have done it. And you can see that I'm not insulting anyone, I just calm down, sliding on my knee, showing them that yes, you insult me, you sack me from your team, I go, and now this means I'm not the bad player you think I was when I was playing for you."
Carling Cup: Quarter-final draw
Blackburn Rovers v Chelsea
Manchester Utd v Tottenham Hotspur
Portsmouth v Aston Villa
Manchester City v Arsenal
Ties to be played 1/2 DecemberReuse content