Somewhere in amongst the furore that surrounded Emmanuel Adebayor’s Saturday afternoon, a football match took place.
I know it’s difficult to spot and you may have to search through a pile of seething Arsenal supporters and endless reams of video evidence to find it but I assure you, it did take place. Nor was it’s outcome predictable or irrelevant; a 4-2 victory by Manchester City is really quite exciting news for those hoping for a new top four/title challenger.
Prior to Saturday’s match, many were happy enough to take City’s 100% Premier League record with a pinch of salt and perhaps rightly so. After all, they had enjoyed a relatively straightforward start to the season but still only managed to score five goals against their first four opponents- nothing to be overly concerned about but hardly what you would expect from such an expensive forward line.
However, one victory against a member of the esteemed ‘big four’ later and Mark Hughes side are suddenly starting to look like an altogether tougher proposition. Manchester City’ title odds have been cut to 12.00 (compared to Arsenal’s 11.00) and a Champions League spot would appear to be a minimum target.
For Arsenal it was an all to familiar tale as they were once again left scratching their heads and wondering what might have been. Time and again their build up sparkled only for the target to elude them. They are certainly still in the title race (anybody dismissing any team’s chances after two defeats is likely to look silly come May) but they have to start making their domination pay and perhaps consider signing a new goalkeeper; Almunia has too often looked out of his depth against quality opposition.
So for Wenger, it’s a second consecutive matchday of head scratching and wondering what might have been. For Hughes it’s some more justification for his oft questioned summer transfer activity. For the fans, bookmakers and pundits it’s another sign that maybe, just maybe, the Premier League trophy will be heading to unusual surroundings in the not too distant future.