Arsenal are back on the top of the Premiership table after their 3-1 win over Manchester City was coupled with dropped points to both major title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger’s side got of to a great start when Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring on nine minutes, scrambling home the ball after a great burst of speed down the right by Bacary Sagna. The lead was doubled just 15 minutes later when Adebayor’s cushioned header allowed Eduardo da Silva to fire home after turning superbly.
Manchester City stole a goal back just a couple of minutes later when Gelson Fernandes slotted home after an error by Gael Clichy. But the game was put beyond doubt just before the end when Adebayor got his second for the match, finishing calmly from twelve yards out after good lead-up work from Cesc Fabregas and Eduardo.
It was another excellent showing by Wenger’s side and the fourth Premiership game in row that Arsenal have scored three goals. Every single player put in a good performance (excluding Clichy’s error) and that was evidenced by the number of chances that Arsenal created and the ease with Manchester City’s attack was controlled over the 90 minutes.
With two more goals – taking his Premiership tally to eighteen for the season – and willingness to be involved in absolutely everything up front Adebayor was undoubtedly the best player on the park against Manchester City. Unsurprisingly, the manager was full of praise for the Togolese striker following the win.
“His movement off the ball, his finishing, his calmness. I don’t know if some people have seen when he first came to us he was not really composed in front of goal. Now he looks really composed.”
It’s been said many times in the past that the one area that Adebayor could work on is his finishing but ten goals in his last eight games and 21 in all competitions indicates the improvement that he has made since last season. He’s just one goal behind Cristiano Ronaldo after the Manchester United man failed to score in his club’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham so there’s every chance that Adebayor could finish with the golden boot, an outcome that looked unthinkable going into the season.
Senderos doing well
Other standouts from the win against City were Bacary Sagna and Philippe Senderos. Sagna had one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt, bombing forward on a consistent basis and crucially setting up Adebayor for the first goal. Senderos also impressed. The Swiss defender’s weakness has always been a lack of pace and a tendency to give the ball away when in possession so it was a nice change to see him distributing the ball with such authority in this match.
In recent weeks he has performed admirably and been able to forge a solid partnership at the back alongside William Gallas. I’ll be the first to admit that I was sceptical about Senderos’ future at the club and while this short spell will not necessarily change my view it’s nice to see such a likeable player performing well.
The man that Senderos replaced in the Arsenal defence, Kolo Toure, has recently spoken of his fear of becoming ‘burnt out’ after playing for his country at the African Cup of Nations. The Ivory Coast defender is worried that he will struggle to be back to his best for Arsenal when he returns to England due to the physical demands being placed on him during the tournament in Ghana.
“It is a concern that if we get to the final or the third-place match I will go back to London after being involved in five games in about 18 days. I can’t just expect to walk back in because I have played a lot of games in a short time for my country.”
Toure did not play in the Ivory Coast’s 5-0 win over Guinea yesterday – he’s been struggling with groin problem that has troubled him since the second group game – so even taking the heat into account I’m not sure fatigue will be such a problem for him. However, I do like his admission that he can’t just expect to walk back into the side. Toure has always brought a good attitude to the club and I feel his comment is well-placed given the performances that Senderos has shown during the Ivorian’s absence.
So, another fine weekend for the Arsenal Football Club. A two-point lead at the top of the table means the pressure is back on Manchester United and Chelsea to respond. This could force some less-than-perfect performances and if Wenger and his side can keep their head it wouldn’t surprise me to see the lead at the top extended after next weekend. Things are looking very, very good for Arsenal.
What do you think?
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