Back on top - of league and form
Many of us considered the trip to the Manchester Stadium as one of the three most difficult away games of the remainder of the season - along with those to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge. As the day unfolded, however, not only our game proved to not be much of a concern, but the prospect of the other two trips became - well, easier to digest...
As it happened, we put in a thoroughly dominant performance, on an(other) afternoon when you feel we could have scored more than we did and when the only defensive troubles were self-inflicted. Rather surprisingly, the game turned out to be thoroughly lopsided in every area, whether this was because of our dilligence in midfield and ruthlessness of our defence, or because of a dismal performance of the hosts.
I do wonder, however, whether Adebayor's newly found form has anything to do with his pairing up front with Eduardo, who seems to be very capable of diverting quite a bit of pressure to himself, and therefore creating even more space for the big target man. (who, frankly, is nothing like a traditional target man)
On other fronts, Spurs almost did us the huge favor of beating man United, only to concede in the last throws of added time from a set piece. Our Portsmouth-based senior squad tied Chelsea, leaving them 6 points off the pace.
Overall, a great day - back on top by two points and making up two notches in goal differential. Ahhhh, to be a Gunner...
Finally, the ratings:
Lehmann - 7. Although largely untested, he seemed completely at ease and relished the opportunity to be Numero Uno once again.
Sagna - 7. Solid once again, compensated for Hleb's rather poor showing with dangerous, well-timed incursions in Man City's half. Also, kept Petrov at bay in a manner that very few other right backs in the league could.
Gallas - 7. Very strong in the back, helping Mad Jens in goal.
Senderos - 7.
Clichy - 6. An atypically anonymous performance from Clichy on the week of his very first French national team call-up. And a mistake that cost us a goal to top it off. (Sorry, I just had to mention it)
Hleb - 5. The rollercoaster ride of his performances continues - with a good dip.
Fabregas - 7. Back on track in all areas of his game, minus the scoring (although he was close on a couple of occasions)
Flamini - 7. He effectively shut down any kind of service from the City midfield, particularly Hamann and Elano.
Diaby - 7. Very high work rate - much more so than on his average performance.
Adebayor - 8. The goalscoring machine that he has become continued to churn goals. Two more today - and as timely as they get: one to get things started, one to kill the game off.
Eduardo - 7. His decision-making seemed a bit faulty on the day, but his goal more than made up for it.
We're off for a full 9 days. ("we", as in "the fans", since a lot of our guys are on mid-week international duty). Let's hope none returns injured - the month ahead is challenging enough as it is.