>Classy Adebayor sinks Lech Poznan

>Emmanuel Adebayor provided a timely reminder of exactly what he can do as he netted a clinical hat-trick to put him in contention of a starting place against former club Arsenal on Sunday.

The former Gunner’s striker developed a reputation at The Emirates as a player who only turned it on when he wanted to; just over a year into his Manchester City career many City fans could probably say the same. Before this convincing win, Adebayor had done little this season to show the City faithful that he is deserving of a place upfront alongside goal machine Carlos Tevez. However, with Tevez rested, Mancini gave Adebayor a chance to cause havoc and play his way into the starting eleven that will face Arsenal on Sunday. Perhaps with Adebayor and Arsenal fans having so much history it is little wonder that Adebayor produced the goods to give him a chance of rekindling his old love hate affair with the London club.

With Lech Poznan sitting top of the group prior to the game, they were clearly not to be underestimated. City started with a strong starting eleven including Patrick Vieira and David Silva, and it was these two who played a pivotal role in all three of Adebayor’s goals. On 13 minutes Vieira picked up the ball in the final third and sprayed it forward to Adebayor, the striker turned his man with his back to goal on the edge of the boxed and finished it into the far bottom corner. The City fans celebrated, and provided their own amusement for a while as they learnt how to follow the club European style with a lesson from their visitors. Lech Poznan had around six thousand fans in the stadium, the three thousand or so in the South Stand frequently turned their backs to the pitch, hooked their arms around each other and bounced up and down. The City fans duly responded by mimicking the comical scenes. The unique celebrations did not stop there as the South Stand all sat down in tandem only to jump up once again as though a goal had been scored.

It wasn’t long before they were cheering for real. Adebayor’s second came on twenty five minutes. Excellent passing through City’s side led to Adam Johnson finding David Silva. Silva took a touch and crossed an inviting ball towards Adebayor. The forward rose well and as soon he powered the ball towards goal there was only going to be one destination for it as the helpless Buric watched on. The Lech Poznan fans who had been in good voice till then were stunned into silence.

Despite City’s lead never looking in doubt, Poznan were given a route back into the game five minutes after half time. Sloppy play amongst City’s back four, in particular Zabaleta and Lescott, allowed Joel Tshibamba to steal in and produce a tidy finish from eight yards out. The Poznan fans soon found their voice and responded by taking their tops off in the chilly Manchester night.

This goal woke City up, and they produced a fine third as Shaun Wright Phillips and Silva combined before the Spaniard, who is improving by the game, laid it across for Adebayor to stroke home his third and become City’s first ever player to score a hat-trick in Europe.

Mancini then took off Silva and replaced him with the fit again Yaya Toure and forgotten man Jo came on for Wright-Phillips. There was time for Wayne Bridge to get a slice of the action for the versatile Zabaleta and a poor pass back from Boyata almost allowed Lech Poznan to get a second.

Following this impressive display, Mancini has a selection headache for the visit of Arsenal. A motivated Adebayor could be the difference in getting the victory, and a win on Sunday would go a long way to prove that Mancini is the man to lead City to the success they have been starved of for so many years.

By Oliver Holmes

Team line-ups

Hart, Richards, Boyata, Lescott, Zabaleta (Bridge 85 mins), de Jong, Vieira, Wright-Phillips (Jo 78mins), Silva (Yaya Toure 75 mins), A. Johnson, Adebayor

Unused subs:
Given, Kompany, Milner, Tevez,

Buric, Arboleda (Djurdjevic 69 mins), Wilk (Stilic 55mins), Kryvets, Drygas (Rudnevs 55mins), Pescko, Bosacki, Tshibamba, Injac, Kikut, Henriquez,

Unused subs:
Kotorowski, Gancarczyk, Zapotoka, Wichniarek

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