Adebayor gets new-look City off to slick start - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Adebayor gets new-look City off to slick start

Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 2

The notion of Emmanuel Adebayor striding into a sunlit opposition penalty box two minutes and 29 seconds into Manchester City's new journey and putting them ahead with a swish of his corporate blue right boot, is one which would have stretched even the evangelical self-belief which the club have exuded at times this summer.

But that is how it was for City and for the fans who had marched through east Lancashire streets just about believing that the names on their backs – Tevez, Robinho, Adebayor – were theirs. A dreamlike pageant it might all have seemed but one of the main reasons for the smile Mark Hughes wore as he left Lancashire last night was that he had just seen earthy, proletarian qualities, too, and in places where many had least expected them.

Adebayor was the summer acquisition who seemed least to fit into the work ethic which Hughes has demanded from a club who he believes have lacked professionalism for years. But to go with his goal – a work of beauty – was the distance the striker covered deep in midfield linking with Craig Bellamy, who finished with a huge distance run, as well as Robinho.

"I thought his general play and attitude to team-mates was excellent," Hughes said of Adebayor last night. "If you've got front men who will chase and harry and try to rectify mistakes, those are great qualities. Everyone was bouncing off everyone else."

The display suggested that Adebayor can be deployed playing off Carlos Tevez, when fit, as well as part of a two-man strike force. "I'm happy to be at this club where the fans are behind me 100 per cent," he said. "It was difficult at Arsenal because the fans would boo me so it's nice." Plenty of motivating factors for him.

Hughes decided that Tevez's mere two training sessions with City's main squad were not enough to warrant a start, reducing the value of his starting debutantes – Gareth Barry, Adebayor and Kolo Touré – to £52m. Sam Allardyce had Lars Jacobsen and Frenchman Steve N'Zonzi – total outlay £400,000.

But City started perfectly well without the Argentinian. The box-to-box move that propelled them away could hardly have been finer, Adebayor firing a ball out to Shaun Wright-Phillips who left Steven Warnock sitting on the turf as he cut inside him and released the short return ball which Adebayor, unwatched and striding comfortably into the area, lashed in.

Then the industry. Robinho actually seemed quite happy when the board summoning Bellamy to leave the field to make way for Tevez was changed to his own number.

The rain sheeted in from the Pennines and Rovers were inhospitable too, dominating the first half and showing an uncompromising aerial presence when they recovered their poise. City, for whom this was only a second win on the road in 2009, would have conceded last season but Barry in front of defence, holding the midfield, made the difference.

"At times last year we struggled when we came under intense pressure and didn't have the reliance to withstand intense pressure," Hughes said. "There's a real big shift in the qualities we have." The first half workload thrust on to Barry as the sole holding midfielder might give Hughes grounds to reconsider if the 4-2-3-1 formation that some expected, with Nigel de Jong alongside Barry, might work better against stronger sides. There was nothing in City's occasional frailty to suggest Joleon Lescott is not needed.

No matter, given Rovers' profligacy. Jason Roberts lifted a volley over the bar from 12 yards in the first half and headed over when Jacobsen landed a cross on his head early in the second. It was as Allardyce's side ran out of steam that City discovered the benefits of their enhanced numbers. Tevez's arrival in place of Robinho allowed Ireland to operate a good 20 yards further forward than he had throughout the game. That's why he was in a position to receive the ball from Wright-Phillips which Gaël Givet allowed through and slip it inside Paul Robinson's near post a minute into second-half injury time.

As he reached for Allardyce's hand, Hughes slipped on the Ewood Park matting and nearly came a cropper. It was the first sign of anything but sure-footedness and the way Allardyce talked about City last night – "It would have been a big result I we'd won today because they are among the big boys now" – showed they are a different proposition, whatever his old mate Sir Alex Ferguson might say.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week