|12 Sep||3:00 PM||P||Manchester City (A)||2||4||Lost|
Same old story for Manchester City so far this season. Another game, another win, another Adebayor goal. Emmanuel Adebayor scored his 50th Premier League goal against his former club and condemning then to their second defeat in a row after losing to Manchester United.
The Togolese striker got some revenge on the club he used to call home, and against the fans that jeered him. It was also a major signal of intent for The Citizens as they faced their first challenge against one of the 'big boys'. Much of the talk of City centred on if they could break into the top four and end the dominance of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. After tonight's game, the evidence points to yes, while question marks still linger around Arsenal. Goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor, added by an unlucky Manuel Almunia goal, effectively killed the Gunners. Robin van Persie and Thomas Rosicky got Arsenal's goals, but the latter was a mere consolation. The action kicked-off with Arsenal starting brightly with early pressure and quick passing. Arsenal started to impose their style of play upon the game while Man City looked sluggish. Typically Adebayor's first touch of the game brought a chorus of boos from the Arsenal away fans, while Bendther showed their was no love lost between the pair with a forceful challenge.
Slowly City started to settle with good attacking play down the flanks. Man of the moment Adebayor showed his feelings for his former team-mates with a late tackle on Fabregas. The tackle was wreckless as he stepped onto the captain's ankle after the ball was gone but Mark Clattenburg didn't deem it worthy of a booking. Joleon Lescott wasn't so lucky however, as he was booked for obstruction after a surging run by Denilson. The first chance of the game fell to William Gallas who missed a great heading opportunity resulting from a corner. The miss would prove to be costly, as Man City took the lead out of virtually nowhere. Arsenal gave away a free kick and Micah Richards was the beneficiary with a looping header to the far post.
The ball was going in until Manuel Almunia tipped it onto the post, but the ball rebounded onto the back of his head and into the net for an unlucky own goal. Neither side created much after that, and the half-time whistle brought an end to a unspectacular first half. The second half continued in the same fashion before Arsène Wenger to bring on Rosicky for Denilson. Rosicky was a welcome return after 16 months out injured; yet he showed to signs or rustiness. The Czech completely transformed the game with neat passing and high-energy movement. Arsenal raised their game and Gallas again had a great opportunity but his header was straight at Given. Rosicky's pass to van Persie brought Arsenals deserved equaliser. After continuous pressure Rosicky had the ball around 25 yards out from goal before passing to van Persie who just outside the 18 yard box. With back to goal the Dutch man shrugged off Lescott's challenge before unleashing a fierce low drive into the bottom corner.
Arsenal continued to dominate after the goal until the 71st minute, where undoubtedly the main talking point of the match occurred. At full speed it just looked like an innocuous challenge between van Persie an Adebayor but the replays showed the horrific events.
As van Persie an Adebayor challenged for the ball, Adebayor turned and shifted his weight while lunging his boot into van Persie's face. Mark Clattenburg didn't have the full benefit of a reply so no action was taken. There is a question of whether the incident was intentional, but judging by Adebayor's character and 'lack of class', a deliberate and malicious stamp in not out of the question.
Arsenal failed to benefit from their majority of possession and attacking play and paid the price again. As an Arsenal attack was broken down, the defence was out of position and Man City took full advantage. Richards beat Song down the right flank and crossed for Bellamy whose first time beat Almunia easily.
Arsène decided to throw on his final two subs with Eboue and Eduardo coming on. Man city supports showed their ignorance and jumped on the bandwagon by booing Eduardo for his dive against Celtic.
Arsenal tried to get back in the game but were again punished on their left side by a clinical City. Clichy was left stranded by the impressive Shaun Wright-Phillips and his cross fell to Adebayor put the header away. His goal was clinical but his celebration was disrespectful and unnecessary to say the least. As soon as the ball went in he set off in a pre-meditated sprint across the entire pitch to the Arsenal supporters. His celebration will no doubt land him in trouble with the FA and a hefty fine in well deserved.
Arsenal were all but beaten as a strong Bellmay run set up Shaun Wright-Phillips to chip over the onrushing Almunia. Arsenal managed to pull a goal back through Rosicky but the game was as good as over.
What should have been Manchester City's moment of glory turned into Adebayor's shame. The resulting news centred on Adebayor's actions rather than a great victory for The Citizens. van Persie, the victim on the stamp made an official statement accusing Adebayor of committing a malicious stamp. He continued by saying Adebayor had shown a real lack of class.
Now all eyes turn to the FA to see what punishment will be handed out. If Eduardo can be banned for two games for diving, then surely a deliberate stamp to the face of a fellow player, which could have easily blinded him worth a ban of ten to twenty games. Real Madrid's Pepe received a ten game ban for kicking a player in the back so a ban of the magnitude is not out of the question.
Putting Adebayor aside, Man City proved their credentials as a top four team. They have quality throughout the side as well experience and will be looking to build on this win when they face Manchester United in the next fixture. Serious doubts now arise of Arsenal who again had the better part of possession and shots yet came out empty handed. Two defeats in a row against the better teams of the Premier League leave them trailing behind and in serious doubt of mounting a title challenge.
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