The energy and sheer emotion the Premier League can bring was on full display this weekend. Emmanuel Adebayor faced his former club Arsenal on Saturday afternoon in the blue of Manchester City and the Togo international had a firm point to prove to many as we saw the best and the worst of the tall, silky forward.
After mid-week claims that Adebayor “feels the City love” the question remains – did he feel this spirit and love with Arsenal? With the striker scoring 46 goals in 86 league appearances for Arsene Wenger’s men it is incredible to think so many of the Emirates faithful turned on him. Possible transfers to AC Milan and Barcelona were mentioned in the press as Adebayor made noises about leaving the Emirates, however who is not going to listen to advances from two of the top clubs in the World? Mixed in with the transfer speculation and the fans public hatred of the striker were vital and fabulous goals against the likes of Manchester United and Spurs and a wonderful overhead kick against Villareal in the Champions League. The £25m man seems to be enjoying his football once more after scoring four goals in four league games for his new club.
The match against Arsenal was always going to test City’s credentials in the possible push against the ‘Big Four’ and show how hungry Mark Hughes’ side was in the fight for challenging at the top of the league. The spotlight was firmly on Emmanuel Adebayor as Eastlands watched the wonderful and, equally importantly, temperamental nature to his game. Silky dribbling and magical skill brought the City faithful to their feet as Adebayor waltzed around three Arsenal defenders only to see Shaun Wright-Phillips miss the target from his cut-back. The Togolese was a threat all afternoon, holding the ball up and bringing Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips’ pace into play as City broke with ferocity. The defining moment came when Adebayor rose to nod in Manchester City’s third goal, and with pace and overpowering emotion ran to the Arsenal fans to show them exactly what they were missing. A malicious stamp on ex team mate Robin van Persie further overshadowed Adebayor’s performance and epitomised how fantastic, yet frustrating, the striker can be.
Manchester City have flexed their muscle in the transfer market and the rewards are being paid off on the pitch, with the win against Arsenal maintaining their 100% record. A key member of the side on Saturday afternoon was Dutchman Nigel De Jong playing in a defensive midfield role for his first Premier League start of the season – replacing the injured Carlos Tevez. Allowing Gareth Barry and Stephen Ireland more passing freedom, De Jong worked tirelessly dispossessing the youthful Arsenal midfield, creating pressure and tackling strongly throughout the 90 minutes. Mark Hughes has got a fantastic squad at his disposal and the City midfield will be the engine-room of their success despite the several star strikers in the squad. Gareth Barry will prove to be an excellent acquisition and could be the key to City breaking into the ‘Big Four’.
Manchester United demolished Tottenham’s 100% percent record in the Saturday tea-time kick off. The in-form Jermain Defoe scored yet again to open the scoring for Spurs, however Manchester United’s experience and know-how came into play – scoring three goals in reply to give them a fantastic 3-1 victory. The mixture of experience and youthful prodigies was the perfect combination to give the Red Devils a vital win to signal that they were back in form. Ryan Giggs and Anderson performed superbly – Anderson in particular giving energy and youthfulness to the United central midfield. Darren Fletcher was also at his best despite playing on the right of the midfield. The Scotsman hounded every ball and put Wilson Palacios and Tom Huddlestone under severe pressure throughout the game. Wayne Rooney was at his consistent best, chasing every lost cause – especially when United went down to 10 men. He was rewarded with a goal for a wonderful individual effort, and is now starting to show his talismanic nature after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Chelsea maintained their 100% start to the Premier League campaign after a battling 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium. A Florent Malouda goal in the last minute was enough to give Chelsea victory with Carlo Ancelotti seeming to have the Midas touch with the West Londoners. Ancelotti is beginning to give Chelsea a solid backbone of strength, maturity and defensive steel, with an added touch of brilliance going forward. Chelsea have to be considered as favourites for the title, and if their form continues over the season it will be hard for anybody to stop them.