Manchester City 4 – 2 Arsenal
In a game riddled with controversy, Man City managed somehow to win this fiery contest as defensive mistakes cost us dearly. Overshadowing the game was of course, was the behaviour of Adebayor. I’ll jump straight into the stamp, and for those of you who didn’t see the incident…
Van Persie goes to ground with a slide tackle against Adebayor, and then Adebayor, with all intention, stabs out his foot to connect with Van Persie’s face, about a half an inch below his eye…
The first time you watch it, you think, is it intentional? But then when you watch it again, you can see Adebayor kicks out his right foot in the face of Van Persie. When you watch the replay the second time (the first frame), you can really see the intent.
Robin Van Persie released a statement about the actions of Adebayor:
“I am sad and disappointed by my former team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor’s mindless and malicious stamp on me during today’s match.
“We are both professional footballers and I know that the game is physical, I too have made hard and sometimes mis-timed challenges but never with the intention of hurting an opponent. He set out to hurt me today.
“I knew he was aiming for a collision because he changed the angle of his body to allow contact to be made. He moved backwards when his natural momentum would have taken him forward. I find that deeply disrespectful. He has shown a real lack of class today, to me and the fans.
“I do feel lucky that I have not suffered a greater injury. The contact was only centimetres from my eye. I have not received an apology from him, there were no words exchanged afterwards. He had his own agenda today and that is bad for football. It’s bad for the game we all love.
“I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the result of today’s match. We do not hide from that disappointment but I need to speak out about his behaviour.”
And that’s a very powerful statement of the events and believe Robin wouldn’t have said this unless he really felt like he need to say something. The referee was only 2 feet behind the incident and failed to send off Adebayor. The decision not to send him off changed the outcome of the game and at 1-1 playing against 10 men, we’d have won the game without question – well maybe a little question.
The game itself was a very entertaining game of football indeed – a game which we really dominated, similarly to the Manchester United game. We did start with a somewhat defensive formation with Diaby, Denilson, Song and Fabregas deployed within the formation. Rosicky was on the bench and the starting Xi seemed to lack a bit of flair and punch.
In a way, the recent formation changes from Arsene have been more defensive and coupled with the players deployed, was a contain and attack route.
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Denilson – Song
Bendtner – Cesc – Diaby
Robin Van Persie
Personally, I do like this formation, but I’d like to see more attacking players in it. If we’re going to play Denilson, Song and Cesc, then we also need to see three attacking players deployed. I was surprised to see Rosicky and Eduardo on the bench, but from Arsene’s point of view, both players maybe not 100% so better to come on from the bench.
Man City scored first with their first real attack, when Micah Richards nodded in a cross and Almunia attempted to save only for the ball to rebound off the back of his head into the back of the goal. It was against the run of play as we kicked the game off in quite a good manner. We had chances in the first half, but ultimately, we weren’t sharp enough up front. We did equalise on the 62nd minute through some good work from Van Persie when he swivelled and found the back of the net. As we piled players forward to try and get the winner, with Rosicky and Eduardo coming on for Song and Denilson. The problem when you face a team like Man City of course, is that when you push forward, then you’re always liable to get caught on the counter attack – and that’s exactly what happened with goals from Bellamy, Adebayor and Wright-Philips. Rosicky got a late goal, but at the end of the day, we’ve now lost both our last two games, and find ourselves 9 points behind Chelsea.
Arsene spoke after the game:
“We have the same feeling at little bit as the first game in Manchester [two weeks ago]. There was more in the game for us than what we got and we go unfortunately home with the same spirit, the same disappointment and of course with the feeling that we should have got a much better result today considering the way the two teams played. But they negotiated better the two turning points of the game, and I believe we were defensively a bit shaky today.”
And the gaffer also spoke on the affects from the International games:
“It’s difficult to say because I believe many players came back from international games, and when you play away it’s very difficult to say. We’re not completely sharp and fresh like we can be and I felt it had an impact on our defensive concentration.”
Arsene hasn’t yet commented on the Adebayor stamp, but he did say the fact Adebayor ran the length of the field to celebrate was not really appreciated.
“As you know that is not welcome, but his attitude and his behaviour is out of my control and I cannot influence that.”
The FA are said to be looking into the two incidents and if you remember that Gary Neville was banned for two games for celebrating in front of the Liverpool fans in 2006, you’d expect a similar ban for Adebayor as well as a further penalty for the stamp… so maybe a 5-game ban and punishment from the club itself?
John Dillion of the Express talked about the egos at Man City:
Mark Hughes ought to be coming down on this very, very hard because Adebayor has acted with complete self-regard basically. He’s going to be banned at a time when Tevez is injured, Robinho is injured and if the FA act quickly he might even miss the United game next week. “This is where you can nail that down at the beginning and show that the club is bigger than any individual – and Adebayor has put his own agenda before that of the club.
I’m sure we’ll speak more about this game, but for the moment, I’ll leave you with this.