The Great Debate: Emmanuel Eboue

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer IDecember 8, 2008

It seems a while now that Arsenal have been without some sort of talking point surrounding them.

Not long ago, sensational and ridiculous questions over the future of the club's greatest ever manager were being asked, but after two straight league wins everything seems to be alright, despite the 2-0 loss they suffered to Burnley in between those two league wins.

Then serious doubts grew over the role of William Gallas in the club, culminating in the Frenchman being stripped of the captaincy.

Now, however, it is another player who is bearing the brunt of the supporters' wrath. That player is Emmanuel Eboue, or Ebooue as he is now more commonly known.

He came on in the 32nd minute for the injured Samir Nasri, and from that moment on did nothing to endear himself to the Arsenal faithful. After an awful display he was eventually subbed off in the 90th minute, to raucous boos, jeers, and ironic cheers.

Perhaps playing in a relatively unfamiliar left midfield role effected him, but the level of performance was so low that many fans aren't accepting that as a defence.

Now, the fans pay a lot of their hard earned money to get into the Emirates Stadium, and they have a right to shout praise, criticism, and anything else if they think the player in question deserved it. If, as in this case, they believe it is a waste of that money, then the player causing the frustration will be at the end of the fan's abuse.

Yes, they have a right to do that, but does that mean they are right to do it? No, sorry, not in my book.

I understand that Eboue is getting paid an awful lot, and, on the basis of games like Saturday's, he isn't earning his keep, but he didn't go out there to play poorly on purpose.

I also understand the frustration, and if that was a Liverpool player, I would probably shout obscenities at the television screen, or if I was at the game I would let it be known I was unhappy, but not in a negative way.

A shout of "Come on!" has a much better affect than 50,000 people booing you. Just imagine how small Eboue must have felt when walking off the field.

I don't blame Arsenal fans for booing, but I think in hindsight, many of them would regret it, as they must know that it only has a negative affect on the player and the team.

This brings me onto my next point, was Arsene Wenger right to bring him off? It was right at the end of the game, and taking him off only allowed him to be the focus of every fan in the stadium, who then started booing, or perhaps worse, cheering that he was being subbed.

Again, imagine how Eboue must've felt.

In this case, however, Wenger was right. Eboue was placing his team in trouble, and, with just a one goal lead, he could have cost them two points. Had Arsenal been two up, I think Wenger would have kept him on, but he was right not to take that risk.

Shouts of encouragement would have worked a lot better than the boos Eboue received, but that isn't how a football stadium works. Often, the fans actually have a detrimental affect on the team.

As a professional footballer, however, Eboue should be able to take this hard blow on the chin and bounce back a better player.