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A step in the right direction (City 3, Lech Poznań 1)

21 October 2010

Emmanuel Adebayor celebrated Take Your Child to Work Day with a hat trick against Lech Poznań

I admit I got very nervous when City conceded early on the second half. It was such a frustratingly sloppy goal to give up, and it signaled the arrival of a period that saw Lech Poznań in the ascendancy, as I braced for the inevitable equalizer. Just as I was sitting there thinking very negative thoughts about Typical City, up popped Emmanuel Adebayor to complete his hat trick and put an end to the worrying.

It was a breakout performance for the Togolese, who recorded his first hat trick at City and the club’s first in nearly 70 games in European competitions. He actually could have had two more, easily, if he had controlled one ball better and made better contact on another. The scoring explosion was a reminder to all of us — and most important of all, to Adebayor himself — just what he is capable of doing when he is on his game.

Just as great to see was a very strong performance from David Silva, who put on a performance worthy of the hype surrounding his signing, giving the may as well have been a samurai (as the legend goes that began as a joke on his Wikipedia page), the way he repeated sliced through the Lech Poznań defense. And after a poor start that saw him nearly play in opponents twice, Nigel de Jong snapped out of the malaise of this past weekend with a very strong game in the midfield. He was back to his ball-winning ways, making a number of perfect sliding tackles in key spots.

It was great to see Carlos Tévez, James Milner, Gareth Barry, and Vincent Kompany all get well deserved rests, while Yaya Touré looked back to his old self when he came on for a late cameo. Adebayor appeared to tweak something on his volley attempt with about 10 minutes remaining, though he stayed on the pitch, so hopefully all is well with him.

City still aren’t where I’d like them to be in terms of looking like a cohesive unit and getting the most out of their collective talent, but this was a better display than the previous three outings. And the carelessness that led to the visitors’ goal was highly annoying and prevented a clean sheet. I guess I should just be glad that the 6,000-strong contingent of visiting fans had something to cheer after making the trip to Manchester and providing the atmosphere the home fans sadly didn’t seem interested in contributing.

Now City are in position to grab the group by the scruff of the neck with a win in the reverse fixture next month, with three points guaranteeing progress to the knockout stages of the competition and wins in the next two guaranteeing they finish on top of the group. And there’s little time for recovery, as it’s back to domestic action when Arsenal come to Eastlands on Sunday for the marquee matchup in the Premier League this weekend.

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