x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mancini considers Adebayor for start

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, is toying with the idea of unleashing Emmanuel Adebayor against Arsenal, his former club.

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, is toying with the idea of unleashing Emmanuel Adebayor against Arsenal, his former club, tomorrow.

The Togo forward staked his claim to start a league game for the second time this season by scoring a hat-trick - his first goals of the season - in the 3-1 Europa League win over Lech Poznan on Thursday.

Mancini favours playing Carlos Tevez as a lone striker but the Italian said he is seriously considering playing Adebayor against the club he left in 2009.

"It is possible he could play against Arsenal," Mancini said. "For a striker it is important to play well and his performance was excellent. But it is very important for them to score.

"Now he has a good chance to play against Arsenal."

Micah Richards, the City defender, said Adebayor had been walking around with his chin on the floor for the last few weeks, having failed to secure a place in Mancini's first choice line-up.

"Emmanuel has been quite down for the last couple of weeks but he is buzzing now," Richards said. "He has been hoping for a goal. With a hat-trick he should soon be flying again.

"I can understand his frustration. He is a quality player and when you don't get in the first XI it is frustrating. But we have a dressing room full of international stars, so when a chance comes along, you need to take it."

Adebayor is not the only one who has found it difficult coming to terms with the size of City's squad and the competition it provides.

Richards has played just 14 minutes in the past month and he was so keen to impress on Thursday night that he did not tell Mancini he was carrying an injury. "I had a dead leg, but there was no way I was going to miss out," said Richards, the England defender.

"The competition here is fierce and you have to maximise every opportunity. I started the season well. Now I have to be patient. There are so many players fighting for the same thing but the spirit amongst us is growing all the time."