Adebayor a hero and villain as City step into Arsenal's shoes

Manchester City 4 Arsenal 2: Former striker proves real nuisance to Gunners' players and fans to help Hughes' troops hit heights

What started off as a row over etiquette in the Emirates dressing room had escalated to something far greater by last night. It was self evident, as soon as Nicklas Bendtner aimed a sneaky hack at Emmanuel Adebayor in the first five minutes of a momentous game, that the strikers were not over last season's dispute over whether Bendtner should have breached a match-day ban on training shoes.

What followed was a kicking contest between City's new £25m man and his old team-mates for much of the time but a game which will be remembered most by Manu's revenge: Adebayor sprinting the length of the pitch, having headed home his fourth goal in as many leagues games, and sliding into a celebration in front of Arsenal's fans. Adebayor had been abused by Arsenal supporters from the moment he stepped onto the pitch but this was not far short of encitement to riot. Bottles rained down from the Arsenal contingent and a steward injured in the melee lay on the pitch for five minutes.

If Nottingham Forest 's Nathan Tyson is anything to go by - he has been charged with improper conduct by the FA for his flag-waving against Derby County this month - Adebayor, who was booked for his goal celebration, is in trouble. The FA will also want to view footage of him apparently stamping on Robin van Persie, though the Dutchman did seem to aim a kick at the Togolese first. The plot thickened. Adebayor cleared an Emmanuel Eboue shot off the goalline and then waved towards the Arsenal fans as he left the pitch. Hard to tell if this was ironic, though probably not. "He is an emotional guy and it was an emotional moment for him. You have to cut him a bit of slack," Hughes said.

Amid all that lot, the game seemed a bit of a sub plot but when the dust settles its outcome tells us much about the force which Mark Hughes has gathered at Eastlands and its capacity to oust Arsenal from the firmament. Mark Hughes had warned on Friday that grace and elegance alone would not bring success on a football field and while he has added the requisite steel - there were particularly huge performances here from Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong, who was added as a second holding midfielder, Craig Bellamy and Kolo Toure - Wenger's side paraded the same ineptitude as in their 3-0 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.

While each of City's goals were gifts - the visitors were "defensively shaky; when you mistake at that level you pay for it," Wenger admitted - Arsenal discovered what they lost when Kolo Toure, now City skipper, departed up the M1. A particular moment for City to treasure: Toure's immaculate challenge as Cesc Fabregas advanced into the box with them 1-0 up. His defence headers always reached blue shirts. And when City had, to quote Hughes' pre-match plan "battened down the hatches," they twice destroyed Arsenal on the counter attack. Further evidence of the way Hughes has instilled worldliness where once there was only prettiness.

For quarter of an hour as Arsenal unravelled their skills, it seemed that the bubble of expectation, before a record crowd bathing in the Eastlands sunshine at Eastlands, was to be popped again. City hardly got on the ball in that time and Micah Richards' failure to pick up William Gallas from Bendtner's corner was another object lesson in why his poor positional play keeps him out of Fabio Capello team planning.

But the Frenchman placed his header over the bar and City were then allowed to test out the kind of football Arsenal "don't enjoy", as Hughes had put it. It is no coincidence that they have now scored three goals from set pieces this season, where in previous years they would lack the physical presence to challenge at a free kick or corner. When Gareth Barry lofted a 20-yard free kick towards the right of the Arsenal penalty box on 19 minutes, the jostling was enough to distract Thomas Vermalen and allow the ball to drift over to Richards, unmarked, whose looping header rebounded off the post onto Manuel Almunia head and into the net.

Arsenal, stunned before the interval, rallied after it. Shay Given, whose huge contribution has been generally overlooked amid the big buys, had saved twice before Joleon Lescott, who helped Arsenal to six goals at Everton, made it seven when he let Van Persie receive substitute Tomas Rosicky's ball, spin past him and net left footed on 62 minutes.

And then, the painful exposition of Arsenal's featherweight defence: three goals in 10 minutes and each soft enough to make Wenger wince. Craig Bellamy, whose contribution across the pitch was colossal, collected a Lescott interception, ran 40 yards, exchanged passes with Richards and gratefully lashed in on 74 minutes. Adebayor, unchallenged, headed in Shaun Wright-Phillips' cross six minutes later. Bellamy won possession 30 yards out and put through Wright-Phillips for a deft flick over Almunia.

In the blinding finale, Arsenal could have scored fully four times but did so only once, Fabregas' deftly finding Tomas Rosicky out of Richards' reach and free to slot home. Wenger didn't want to read too much into the result last night. "I don't really know how significant it is or the impact on the league. Same spirit, same disappointment." But City have every reason to make profound interpretations.

Attendance: 47,339

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Touré

Match rating: 8/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum