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Gunners getting the best out of Eboue
Published : 12 Mar 2010 13:05:52Rss feed
The versatile Ivory Coast international, 26, came off the bench to net a fine goal in the midweek 5-0 thrashing of Porto as a rampant Arsenal booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Eboue has endured an often difficult relationship with some of the Emirates Stadium faithful - most notably when he had to be substituted after coming on against Wigan in December 2008 and receiving a tough reception which left him visibly upset as he trudged off to sarcastic cheers. That, though, is now very much water under the bridge for the jovial African, who has since found cult status among the Gunners fans after becoming one of the most consistent performers in the squad. Wenger believes Eboue's presence is a welcome addition, both on the pitch and at the training ground. "He was criticised last year and came back with the right attitude - put the right performances in and people will love you," said the Arsenal boss. "When you are a football player, you are not loved for what you say, but for what you produce on the football pitch. Sometimes we tend to forget that, but Eboue did that right. "He is developing into a complete player - he can play full-back, right midfield, left midfield. He is a great football player. "Emmanuel Eboue starts now to get the credit he deserves. He has a fantastic attitude and loves the game." Wenger added: "He is an extrovert who has some talents not only on the football pitch, but he can be funny. "He uses that in a very positive way for a good mood in the squad." With Bacary Sagna struggling to be fit to face Hull tomorrow because of an ankle problem, Eboue could again be deployed at right-back, while also looking to get forwards as much as possible. "Emmanuel is a very creative player," said Wenger. "Full-back is a very important position in modern football - getting out of pressure most of the time comes through the wings and starts with the full-backs." Eboue, who was part of the 2006 Champions League final side, is clearly relishing life at Arsenal. He said: "For me, I feel very good on the pitch now. "There was a time when I did not play so much, but now I am playing more I feel great. "But I am just thinking about the team when I am out there on the pitch, making sure I give 100%." Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United are not in action until Sunday against Fulham, who went down 3-1 away to Juventus in the Europa League last night. So should Chelsea fail to beat London rivals West Ham, then the Gunners could go back to the top of the table with victory at KC Stadium in Saturday's late kick-off. With 69 goals, Arsenal are the leading scorers in the Premier League ahead of this weekend's fixtures. However, 14 of those have come from midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and the Arsenal captain is set to miss the clash with the relegation battlers because of a hamstring problem. Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner wasted a string of chances against Burnley last weekend, but made amends by grabbing a hat-trick against Porto - the first of his senior career at Arsenal. Wenger, however, is not concerned by who scores - just as long as his side continue to find the net on a regular basis. "We have the best attack in the Premier League this season - and our strikers have not scored as many goals," he said. "So for us it is important our team play is right, then anyone can score in our team. "There is no special responsibility on any given striker to score goals."
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