x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Adebayor fans the flames

All the talk before the game was about Emmanuel Adebayor. Most of the post-match chatter will surround the Togo striker too.

MANCHESTER // All the talk before the game was about Emmanuel Adebayor. Most of the post-match chatter will surround the Togo striker too. As City signalled their top-four intentions by triumphing in a thrilling contest, Adebayor scored against his former club, his fourth goal in four league games. He could also be in hot water for what looked like a stamp on Robin van Persie and his passionate celebration in front of his former fans.

It was a remarkable result for City. When Van Persie cancelled out a first-half own goal from Manuel Almunia, Arsenal were in the ascendancy and likely winners. But a stunning three-goal burst from City, including a header from Adebayor, gave them a fourth successive league success and their 100 per cent record intact. Adebayor's big moment came in the 80th minute when he headed home a right-wing cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips. Adebayor could not hide his delight and ran the full length of the field to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans. Stewards struggled to contain the angry Gunners faithful from spilling on to the pitch and the striker was booked for his actions.

After the game, he said: "To be honest, I'm very sorry for all this. Sometimes, the emotion takes over. That's what happened. I was very happy to score the goal. Before the game, people have been saying and writing things and the emotions took over." Adebayor was involved in another incident in the second half when he tangled with van Persie, before appearing to tread on the Dutch striker's forehead. Van Persie was left with a bloody stud mark on his face, but Adebayor escaped a booking and therefore could be punished by video evidence.

City had struggled in a first half that was only notable for the goal in the 20th minute. Micah Richards rose to meet a free-kick from Gareth Barry and his header struck the inside of the post and rebounded off Almunia into the net. Shay Given had done well to keep out efforts from van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and then a near-post header from William Gallas. But the Irish keeper was beaten for the first time this season when van Persie drilled a low shot into the corner with his supposedly weaker foot on 62 minutes.

City were flagging, but Craig Bellamy was set up by Richards to float a shot past Almunia and put his team back in front in the 74th minute. Adebayor struck and then Wright-Phillips coolly finished past the advancing Almunia to make it three in just 10 minutes. Tomas Rosicky got a consolation on his return form injury, but after Arsenal lost at United last time out, Arsene Wenger must be glad he does not have to return to Manchester any time soon.