I’ll know better this time next week, after they’ve played at Old Trafford, but there’s no question Manchester City are giving me cause to think I might have to revise my opinion that it’ll be the same old ‘Top Four’. At least, it could become the ‘Top Five’.
Though Arsenal pummelled City for a large part of the second half on Saturday, it would be churlish not to acknowledge how well the home team played, particularly given the absence of so many of their big purchase signings — Robinho, Tevez and Santa Cruz.
However, inevitably, the behaviour of a certain Emmanuel Adebayor is, for the moment, a distraction too big to ignore. If I feel the authorities were right to suspend Arsenal’s Eduardo for what he did — he’ll miss Arsenal’s Champions League fixture in Liege on Wednesday night — then the book should be thrown at his former colleague.
I gather some Arsenal fans chose to sing some appalling ditty at the Togolese striker — I don’t know, I wasn’t there. Clearly, they’ve forgotten how offended they were by the abuse hurled at Arsene Wenger at Manchester United the other Sunday. However, there is no excuse for Adebayor, NONE whatsoever.
He did not celebrate his goal with his new colleagues. Instead, he chose to evade them to run the length of Eastlands to ‘celebrate’ in front of visiting fans. Gary Neville hadn’t even scored himself when he did precisely the same thing to Liverpool supporters a few years back at Old Trafford. It’s not ‘funny’ as City fans tried to persuade on ‘6-0-6’ on Saturday night, it’s incitement.
His apology afterwards doesn’t wash with me. That had all the hallmarks of someone at City, with more sense than Adebayor, telling him that’s what he should do. But, actually, earlier in the game he’d perpetrated far worse.
We are all aware that there is ‘history’ between Adebayor and Nicklas Bendtner. It would have been no excuse but you’d at least have partly understood had Adebayor’s scandalous stamp been aimed at the Dane. It wasn’t. It was at Robin Van Persie.
Van Persie could scarcely have been more forthright: it was “malicious”; he “set out to hurt me.”
Adebayor should look forward to suitable suspension during which he can contemplate the wisdom of his actions.
I suppose the only person slightly relieved at the attention being directed at the City miscreant is Manchester United’s Paul Scholes.
Now Sir Alex is perfectly right to question the second yellow card at Tottenham. I thought it was harsh. Tom Huddlestone can be a big girl’s blouse. However, I would have given Scholes a straight red card for the first offence – the challenge on Jermain Defoe.
For years we’ve heard the standard defence offered for Scholes (I’ve done it myself): “he can’t tackle.” Well, now, I’m beginning to think it’s not that: he’s just a very bad boy.