Man City ride late wave to punish Arsenal on the break

September 13, 2009 at 11:00 am | Posted in Arsenal | 14 Comments

Emmanuel Adebayor helped defeat his former club as Manchester City produced a devastating performance on the counter attack.
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Adebayor

Arsenal fans are set for a roller coaster ride of emotions this season. The Gunners were full of joy and surprise after an emphatic start to the campaign but were then put through the wringer against Manchester United, as they meekly surrendering the lead to the Champions. And the 4-2 defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium certainly would have touched on all the spectrum of emotional state.

Emmanuel Adebayor further fueled the animosity between he and Arsenal fans as he ran the full length of the pitch to let his feelings known after being on the receiving end last season.

There was tension on the pitch as well as every challenge on, and by Emmanuel Adebayor was crunching and each with its own meaning enough to write a book. The cut on Robin van Persie’s face will surely mean the book is not closed should the Togolese striker return to the Emirates for what was a petulant stamp. In the words of Take That, how did it come to this as a gangly, unfancied forward who couldn’t hit a barn door was molded into a top goalscorer, won the affection of fans for his honest approach then hated for supposedly a slip of tongue. And this blog was looking forward to an Adebayor goal-fest this season.

The match itself was a thriller and could in all feasibility ended in double figures for Arsenal. Shay Given was in inspired form for City and he was matched by the industry put in by his team-mates. Craig Bellamy put in a Man of the Match performance as he worked tirelessly to track back Gael Clichy and was a menace on the break. Mark Hughes certainly saw that the Welshman was giving much trouble to the defenders that he got him more involved and culminating in the flurry of goals.

Arsene Wenger should surely now stop undermining the importance of transitions in his post-match conferences as his side were very much undone in this regard. Uncharacteristically, Gael Clichy had a shocker and Man City took full advantage of the space he afforded to them on the break. And with Song and Denilson in particular sacrificed for creativity, the gaps just opened up. Almunia should have stopped the first, Song the second but credit must go to City for making the most of transitions in play. Lescott made a fantastic crunching tackle on the halfway line to dispossess Clichy in the build up to the third.

At the other end van Persie remained isolated in a formation Wenger had stated has been “convincing” so far. However it was always going to be about his players’ attitudes and application to the cause that will define the success but Wenger would have been left reeling at the lack of support for his Dutch striker. He continuously dropped short to find space while the wide men, because they were not natural wide men couldn’t really make use of the flanks.

It was most probably the most functional team Wenger has sent out, devoid of much ingenuity apart from Fabregas and van Persie before Rosicky and Eduardo came on. Wenger realised this and sent his Czech international on as quick as possible. In the first half, Arsenal were riddled with poor decision-making and technical inadequacies. The pressing was lax at the front and if the comparisons with Barcelona are to remain, space must be squeezed as high up the pitch as possible.

Man City defending deep didn’t help but goals like van Persie’s shows there is enough quality to get through but only with more creativity and movement. How much damage is done and if Arsenal are strong enough to bounce back we don’t know. The Gunners had plenty of chances so in that sense there is something to be optimistic about but a repeat of last season where Arsenal capitulated the title challenge halfway through must be avoided.

Man City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge,
Wright-Phillips, Ireland (Martin Petrov, 73, Barry, De Jong, Adebayor, Bellamy.
Subs not used: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Sylvinho, Vidal, Weiss.

Goals: Almunia (og) 20, Bellamy 74, Adebayor 80, Wright-Phillips 84
Booked: Lescott 14, Adebayor 82, de Jong 90

Arsenal: Almunia (5), Sagna (5) (Emmanuel Eboue, 77), Vermaelen (5), Gallas (6), Clichy (5), Bendtner (5), Song Billong (Da Silva Eduardo, 77) (6), Fabregas (6), Denilson (Tomas Rosicky, 52) (6), Diaby (5), van Persie (7).
Subs not used: Mannone, Ramsey, Silvestre, Eboue, Gibbs.

Goals: van Persie 62, Rosicky 88
Booked: Sagna 19, Song 73
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Manchester City Team Statistics Arsenal
4 Goals 2
1 1st Half Goals 0
5 Shots on Target 7
3 Shots off Target 12
2 Blocked Shots 4
3 Corners 12
14 Fouls 12
2 Offsides 2
3 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
73.5 Passing Success 82
21 Tackles 28
81 Tackles Success 75
39.6 Possession 60.4
40.4 Territorial Advantage 59.6
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  1. I am very sad about the Adebayor incident. Leaving the intention of his stamping on RvP’s face to speculation, I’d like to talk only about his celebration.

    My question is, if any of us were Adebayor, would we not act differently? Would you not be dignified? You may say only d***heads act like he did. But honestly I could hardly say I wouldn’t feel dignified if I were Adebayor. It was more than well documented that a vocal section of Arsenal fans directed mislead and abusive judgment at Adebayor even before the last year he was here. Whatever the reason, you have to be frank that the betrayal started from this direction.

    What makes me sick is that it’s the away fans who had to take on the backlash and all the pains and humiliation coming with it. These people support the team rain or shine, whoever playing. They did not deserve it. The essence of football that rests on fans’ unconditional love for their players have suffered a severe blow.

    Someone has to step up and said this is enough. Someone has to be the first to forgive: if neither side refuses to back down, this acrimony will only spiral downward. Adebayor gave us memorable moments on the pitch when he was with us. Credits due to him need to be given. Fans’ abuses need to be addressed. You can’t have a great football team if your fans don’t understand their precious role in preserving the value of the sport.

  2. As for the game, I believe that Arsene made a tactical mistake when pulling Denilson out. Clichy was exposed at least 3 times after the sub, two of which lead to goals. Rosisky injected a much needed dose of composure and creativity at that moment of the game, no denying that. But I wonder if Diaby had been a better sacrifice than Denilson and eventually Song. I also wonder if Bendtner is being utilized optimally on the wing. I can hardly blame our defense except for the first goal.

    We did not miss Adebayor, creating enough chances against currently the best defense in the league. We contained him for the good par of an hour, until Denilson was subbed.

    The games so far have shown that we are quite competent and had depth in reserve in both attack and defense. What’s lacking is a balanced and fluent combination of the two in a big game. We need learn how to defense when Denilson/Song or both are out and attack creatively when they are in. This is the missing puzzle.

  3. yes, i completely agree that taking out denilson was the turning point of the match. it left the back four without cover, as is evident by the countless counterattacks we suffered.
    i’ve been saying this from the beginning and i’ll say it again – i think song makes too many mistakes to play alone as DM. look at the mistake he made against SWP that led to the bellamy goal. he shouldn’t overcommit himself in such a position, as clichy was caught out of position, and he was the last line of defense.
    the big mistake we made was that our players overcommit themselves in tackles when they should have just stayed in front of the attackers to pressure.
    i think we wanted to beat them so badly our defense overcommit itself. we were a complete mess.
    look at adebayor’s run, where he beat out three players. we dove in with desperate tackles all three times and missed three times. tackling like this is very uncharacteristic of us. sustained pressure in numbers is our way of defending.
    i think we got too nervous trying to beat him and not them.
    regardless of the emotional excuses, wenger should have switched diaby for rosicky not denilson. like for like would have kept the balance better.

    • ya agree.. clichy overcommited himself and led to the 3rd goal.. how could he press so high up on SWP and try to win the ball instead of staying in front of him and prevent a run ( which eventually happened and led to a goal)…just not calm enough at this highest level of football

  4. oh, and my heart goes out to all those away fans who had to endure that kind of abuse from that C*NT. i just wish away fans had more accurate arms. i saw a piece of bread that nearly hit him off a bounce, but i didnt see anything that came close enough. i would have gone utterly berserk, like that one guy who tried to claw his way past three guards.
    as to the other players on the pitch. bendtner was ineffective as was diaby. not a great tactical selection by the manager today.
    watch the 4th goal that city scored against us, but watch rosicky carefully. watch how he jogs away from his defensive duties once clichy was dispossesed: (11:13). http://www.footytube.com/video/manchester-city-arsenal-sep12-22472 this is the kind of defensive imbalance i am talking about. clichy got caught out too many times and noone came back to help.
    this game was a tactical, emotional and ideological victory for city. I am completely despondent.

    • I also noticed Rosicky not tracking back in the run up to the goals.
      Infact, I think there has been a general tendency this season for midfield defensive duties to fall only on players like Song, Denilson. It seems like some players are meant to defend while the others attack.
      Of course, I may be generalizing way too much here. But I think the attacking players also should shoulder some blame for not tracking back and letting the defence tear up.

      • i agree to some extent. bendtner has been great in tracking back – he’s very dedicated on that right side.
        arshavin, van persie and eduardo do not track back as much as they should, but they shoulder the attacking burden and it is understandable.
        however, arshavin stands out as being the only midfield player who doesnt. he should have no excuses but it seems his fitness has not progressed as much as he promised.
        btw, does anyone know when nasri is coming back?

        • Nasri is walking without a cast. Shouldn’t be too long before he starts playing but remember he had no pre-season.
          Arshavin does have fitness problems, as I alluded to when we signed him but to his credit he keeps going. The attacking players must do more to track back but with the full backs generally more cautious and Song/Denilson holding we shouldn’t have that much a problem as we have now. Man City was an isolated case as we lacked creativity because the wide men weren’t in essence wide players therefore lacking the cutting edge.

          • thanks for hte reply
            srry, i dont quite get what you mean abt our wide players lacking cutting edge. do you mean the passes into the box? i noticed that the crosses from our fullbacks are horrendous. they seriously need to work on that. the midfielders aren’t that great at it either . . . except maybe fabregas.

            • Essentially Diaby and Bendtner are not wide players therefore didn’t really contribute much on the flanks in terms of taking the man on etc. That meant the full backs had to push forward and we know how there crossing’s like. The space also left behind can easily be countered from.

  5. someone on fox made a comment about phoenix rising..it wasnt in reference to man city but it might as well be…there are a thousand cliches about instant fame instant wealth blah blah…give them a month or so …arsenal is a long standing top of the ladder team…it has no need to make little squealie school girl comments or do childish tricks…they will fade back from whence they cometh. into the blue….bad bayor and all……and arsenal will stay in its place of honour without saying or doing a thing…just being a good honourable place to teach and train boys and girls and to play a beautiful game…

  6. We payed so well, but to me it was not just our day. if you observed so well, all our boys were desperate for a win atleast. that is why the defenders all pushed forward.

    The only problem was that the two defenders on the wings were not as effective as they have always been on thier good day.

    As for Emmanuel Ade, he should know that Arsenal turned him into a world class player. A few years ago, he was a small hunter running after the ball with no sophiscated skills at all. Wenger has turned him into a money puller and he behaves the way he did, so local of him.

    We should not lose hope we have a big pontetial, we have one of the big cups this year. The legue has just started, i understand the frastration but cool down.

  7. I think we focussed too much on Adebayor at times during the match. And this cost us. Bellamy though was the one who really punished us.

    I think there is a flaw in considering that we need to play with 2 DMs. It generally means that we are not holding the other midfielders responsible for defence and tracking back.

    But after the Eduardo reprieve and the charge on Adebayor, I feel a little relieved. I think our season starts again here.

  8. i think wenger took out denilson because of the back injury he now suffers from. sadly, that switch may have cost us the game.
    i must remark however, on the “street fighter” like mentality of our team. it was almost like a drawn out brawl between some of our players and adebayor. this factor most likely led us into the wild tackles that preceded the city counter attacks, and thusly the goals.
    on the other hand, we were very powerful in attack and deserved a better result. despite the palpable emotions in the air that day, we still managed to produce a good attacking display. we just have to be wary of the fact that our emotions got the better of us in defense.


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