Emmanuel Adebayor helped defeat his former club as Manchester City produced a devastating performance on the counter attack.
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|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||7|
|3||Shots off Target||12|