Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arsenal - Man City: The African connection

Much of the focus ahead of this encounter will surely be trained in on Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Both players returned to Manchester in midweek as the Ivory Coast and Togo had just one World Cup qualifier and should be buoyed by recent events. Toure was named as the Manchester City captain in midweek whilst Adebayor has so far scored in every Premier League game.

This match will be a major test for City’s rearguard which is yet to concede a goal this season.

This fixture has taken on even greater importance this season as big-spending Manchester City look to buy their way into the Big Four, and many pundits have predicted that Arsenal would be the team to drop out of the Champions League spots.

On the evidence of the 2009/2010 Premier League season so far, Mark Hughes’ side are well capable of finishing in one of the top four positions and whilst Arsenal look good enough to challenge for the title.

A back four of Richards, Bridge, Lescott and Toure looks great on paper, how it fares against the free flowing Gunners attack will be an indicator for the rest of the season.

Cameroun's Alexandre Song, has been one of the most impressive Arsenal performers this season, the nephew of Rigobert Song looks capable of filling the role filled by the likes of Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva and Mathieu Flamini in recent years.

Arsenal fans will most likely be most worried about Emmanuel Adebayor. Whilst Kolo Toure was part of the “Invincibles” and was stagnating at the Emirates, the Togo hitman became too big for his boots after just one season and his antics on Football Focus and kissing his shirt last season became tiring for many.

So far this season, all of Emmanuel Adebayor’s goals have come early on in the match, within the opening half hour. A similar outcome would not be a surprise here but expect Arsenal to keep the natural order of things by dominating the latter part of the match when their superior passing and teamwork kicks in.

What do you think?