Having been described by his manager as "a guy to score goals", Emmanuel Adebayor is looking to "enjoy myself" as Arsenal FC start another UEFA Champions League campaign with a tough trip to FC Dynamo Kyiv.
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Emmanuel Adebayor aims to "enjoy myself" as Arsenal FC start another UEFA Champions League campaign with a tough-looking Group G trip to FC Dynamo Kyiv.
The Togolese international has travelled to Ukraine in fine form having struck a hat-trick in Saturday's Premier League win at Blackburn Rovers FC, prompting manager Arsène Wenger to say: "We are an attacking team – we're only happy when we score goals. That is why I brought this guy here." Adebayor, however, prefers to point to the contribution of his colleagues, adding: "I'm part of this team, so for me it is more important to enjoy myself. Anyone can score – Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie or Cesc Fàbregas. Tomorrow [Wednesday] it will be Dynamo against Arsenal, not Adebayor against anyone."
Yet having scored 30 goals for the north London club in all competitions last season, Adebayor has established himself emphatically among Europe's most dangerous forwards. The pleasing thing for the 24-year-old former FC Metz and AS Monaco FC player is that his exploits serve a common purpose. "As a striker you always have to think about scoring some goals, but for a team it is more important to win," he explained. "If I score against Dynamo it will be great, but if we win it would be even better. I am glad just to help my team to win."
Last term Arsenal lost to Liverpool FC in the quarter-finals, conceding two late goals in the second leg at Anfield after Adebayor's 84th-minute strike seemed to have taken the Gunners into the last four. That may have been a painful experience, yet Adebayor is optimistic it can have long-term benefits. "We are very young and we just want to achieve something – to do well in top-level football," he said. "So we have to take every single chance we have in every single game to see how far we can go. At the moment I can't say we are going to win it, but we are ready to work hard."
'Meet the challenge'
Opposing Adebayor on Wednesday could be Dynamo goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy, although it is more likely Stanislav Bogush will pip the 33-year-old to a place between the posts. "The key thing is to play at our maximum, to give everything we can, and to put into practice on Champions League nights everything we have prepared," said Shovkovskiy. "We have to bank on what we do best and try to hit Arsenal where they are weak. Our recent performances have given the fans hope, and we will do our best to meet the challenge of the Champions League."