So, we did become the first team this season to come away from the City of Manchester Stadium with 3 points; a thoroughly deserved 3 points to boot. What topped it off was the fact Manchester United and Chelsea drew; leaving us 2 points clear at the top. The mistake from Clichy aside, Arsenal were in complete control throughout and could have scored more than we did.
Before the game Arsene Wenger entered a war of mind games with Alex Ferguson and the subject of Emmanuel Adebayor and Cristiano Ronaldo was the main focus of attention. Previously Wenger has announced he was close to signing many world class players, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho and Petr Cech are just some of them. Add to that list the Portuguese winger lighting up the Premiership. I am not quite sure what the point of explaining this is. Think about it…
Wenger might be saying he has spotted the same talent Manchester United did but we all know Wenger is the best at spotting talent, no question. Therefore, why bring up this particular story. Before, it was problems with work permits that denied us the signing of Ronaldinho and Cech. Yet for both Eto’o and Ronaldo it was that they went to another club or Wenger was not sure whether to sign the player. In a way, admitting he had the chance to sign these players means that he was wrong in his judgement. Both have become world class players and gone on to great things and could have brilliant in an Arsenal shirt. He did not take up the chance to sign Eto’o and therefore there is not really any need to bring up the subject. It was in the past and bringing it up only frustrates the fans when they feel we could have such a player at the club.
The Ronaldo story is still very much a mysterious one. Wenger says he will tell more about it in the future and “we will be surprised” when all is revealed. It perplexed me when I saw this revealed. It was used in mind games between Wenger and Ferguson but when I heard it I was disappointed, not proud Wenger knew about the player’s potential. All it told me was that Manchester United are a bigger club in the way they can guarantee such a signing when the player had trained with their rivals. Revenue and fan base wise they are a bigger club but Arsenal are catching fast, comments like this only fuel an ego that does not need to get any bigger. This is my view on the matter, other people’s might be different.
Back to the game and all hail Emmanuel Adebayor. The man is on fire and I am so relieved Togo failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations; Adebayor is venting his anger on Premiership defences. Both goals were tidy finishes but what was so pleasing was that he was in the positions when the ball was around. Throughout he managed to find space from two very good defenders in Dunne and Richards and he took his goals well. He was a real handful and is soon becoming a world class striker.
Credit to Eduardo as well though. His goal was brilliantly taken and showed once more what a natural finisher he is. The composure to chest the ball in such a tight area will not be seen a lot in this league but Eddy is just so cool in front of goal. His link up play is ever improving and he is healing the loss of Van Persie, the man many believed would lead our title challenge this season.
The midfield worked well, I know Fabregas the King will be looking into details of the game soon so I won’t go into too much detail but Cesc is coming back to form with Hleb looking so dangerous on the ball once again. The determination they showed in the 88th minute to get the third goal for Adebayor was awesome.
Philippe Senderos and William Gallas are looking like a good centre back pairing right now and Toure will find it hard to get straight back into the team. Senderos dominated in the air and Gallas looked comfortable on the ground. It is good we have these two performing well with Toure fearing a burnout. Once more he has mentioned playing the ACON in the summer and I am for that. There are so many reasons why, everyone knows them and there is not really any reason to go into them now.
Is there a better set of full backs in the league than Gael Clichy and Bakary Sagna. Both can defend (despite Clichy’s rare moment of madness) and both can most definitely get forward. Clichy has improved his crossing massively (Beckham’s influence maybe?) and this added with his desire to get forward will bear fruit as the season rumbles on. Sagna we know can cross but yesterday he showed great hunger to get to the by-line for Ade’s first goal. With our midfield quite narrow, these two provide most of the width and they seem to have so much energy to get forward constantly. Sagna had a massive task on his hands with Petrov, but the City man didn’t have a sniff.
It is weekends like this that show why the title race is so open. Many thought United would run away with it after they clawed us back in the New Year. Now we are two points clear. It will change a lot as time goes on and results like this can happen at any time. No game is easy and the fact United lost at City and drew at the Lane shows how things can change. We won both of these games but drew at home to Birmingham whereas United won the equivalent match. This title race is hotting up and all we can do is keep winning every game. The biggest games will come but every game is important from here on in.
For now we are top of the League and long may it continue. Blackburn is next and as I said, we need to win this and then worry about United and Chelsea.