Manchester City (1) – (3) Arsenal
Adebayor (8′, 88′), Eduardo (25′)
City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Talk about a player on form.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored two goals and made one, but that hardly tells you the level of performance from the Arsenal striker.
He was everywhere.
Out wide, through the middle – he was playing most of the game up top on his own against Micah Richards and Richard Dunne and caused them all kinds of problems.
I’m not sure how close Togo were to actually qualifying for the African Cup of Nations, but count our lucky stars Adebayor is still with us! His form of late has been simply sensational.
And today is yet another game Arsenal have failed to lose in the Premier League when Adebayor has scored.
A brilliant record, and Arsenal managed to do what no other team (including Manchester United) has done this season – which is to beat Manchester City at home.
Arsenal were sublime in the first half an hour, forcing wave after wave of attack and Adebayor opened the scoring after only 8 minutes after some smart play on the right from Hleb and Sagna.
The second goal was stunning. A cross from Clichy found Adebayor at the back post, who layed off a cool header to Eduardo on the edge of the 6 yard area. He chested the ball away from goal and swivelled in one movement to lash the ball into the bottom corner. I’ve said it before but this guy Eduardo is a killer and scores some amazing goals. It was breathtaking.
There was a question of offside when the ball came to Eduardo but he still had to finish it off and he didn’t disappoint.
After that Arsenal were in cruise-control and it was a rare mistake by Gael that gave Manchester City a chance to get back into the game. The ball was running towards goal but instead of passing it or hitting it out Clichy dilly-dallied and Corluka took advantage by gaining possession and playing it sqaure to Fernandes who slotted the ball home.
City finished the first half strongly, obviously galvanised from that goal and realising the game was far from over.
Arsene tightened things in the second half, pushing Diaby inside to stop the runs of Ireland through the centre and letting Eduardo run in from the left side. It seemed to work because in the second period Manchester City didn’t really trouble Lehmann at all. Then again, he was rarely troubled in the first half, albeit the mistake from Clichy.
It was pretty comfortable in the second half for long periods, although I suppose the tension I felt was that one mistake or set-piece could cost Arsenal the 3 points. Most (if not all) of the attacking play was from Arsenal though, and Adebayor got his reward for his display with his second of the match and Arsenal’s third. Hleb knocked the ball to Ade on the halfway line and Elano cynically hacked down the Togan, but Arsenal played on and eventually Adebayor’s desire paid off as he coolly slotted into the corner.
3 points away at a ground the home team haven’t lost at – you couldn’t ask for more really could you?
Jens Lehmann: 7/10
Didn’t really have anything to do at all apart from the Manchester City goal. Couldn’t have asked for an easier game to return to.
Bacary Sagna: 9/10
Brilliant yet again. Easily won the battle against Martin Petrov and showed awesome running in both halves. At times was taking on both Petrov and Ball single-handedly on the right and caused Manchester City all kinds of problems. His fantastic run and cross made Arsenal’s vital first goal for Adebayor.
William Gallas: 8/10
One of Arsenal’s most consistent performers put in another solid display.
Philippe Senderos: 8/10
Really has stepped up his performances since replacing Kolo Toure, and like in the last few games today we was excellent. I was one of those who thought we would really miss Kolo but the truth is Senderos has been exceptional. After being out of the side to Gallas and Toure to play like he has is a great credit to the young man.
Gael Clichy: 7/10
Overall a good game but really did make a hash of the situation that lead to City’s goal, which on another day could have cost Arsenal points. But to be perfectly frank though that’s the first real mistake I’ve ever seen the guy make in over 100-odd appearances and is one of the most reliable players we’ve ever had.
Alexander Hleb: 5/10
I am a huge fan of Hleb’s but he was not at the races today at all. A big part of his game is excellent ball retention but his passing was off and he did not look 100% fit, because he was letting Sagna do all the running down the right hand side. Usually Hleb is taking on players more regularly but just didn’t look right today.
Cesc Fabregas: 7/10
A steady performance but nothing spectacular. Kept the ball moving well but suffered a bit with lack of movement from Hleb and the lack of an out ball without Rosicky making those positive runs that Fabregas usually picks out.
Mathieu Flamini: 8/10
Helped the defence keep Manchester City’s attack quiet as well as midfield runners Ireland and Fernandes. Passed the ball well alongside Fabregas and rallied the troups when Arsenal could have faded in the second half.
Abou Diaby: 7/10
His decision-making has clearly improved of late and today his passing was quicker and he was picking out the more sensible passes. Still prone occassionally to giving the ball away cheaply or trying the difficult pass but much better than in recent games.
Eduardo Da Silva: 8/10
Took his goal fantastically and linked up well with Adebayor and the midfield. Looks settled now and gives Arsene no problems in selecting him in a two-man attack. Slotted to the left side in the second half and did the job well.
Emmanuel Adebayor: 9/10
Pretty much the complete performance. His finishing really has improved over the season and at the moment looks like Arsenal’s most important player. Great energy, great desire and fantastic attitude. He held the ball up well and was everywhere. One of the few players in the Premier League who can play alone upfront and cause teams real damage.