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Sep 13, 2009

FA must hit Adebayor hard

The FA must throw the book at Emmanuel Adebayor on two accounts... raking former team-mate Robin van Persie's face, and for inciting a crowd disturbance. And believe me, an indignant FA will hit Adebayor hard. The Manchester City striker should be banned for five games for the double trouble he has got himself into with some appalling behaviour at Eastlands on Saturday, which also brought such shame on his club. Neither manager said they saw the second-half clash with former colleague Van Persie when it happened during City's 4-2 win over Arsenal but TV replays, from certain angles, caught out the malicious intent. Shocking. I would expect City boss Mark Hughes to fine his player the maximum amount possible under the rules, and not only for the ugly attack on the Dutchman. As the referee missed the incident, then the FA are free to bring charges, and inflict a hefty ban and fine. Adebayor has already apologised and that will aid his case, but I would also expect City to apologise on his and their behalf as well. The club should also announce any internal disciplinary action they will, inevitably, take against their star centre-forward. If there could be anything worse than his clash with Van Persie, then Adebayor managed it! The striker also raced the full length of the pitch to celebrate right in front of the Arsenal fans after scoring the decisive third goal. The £25m striker had been barracked throughout by the Gunners supporters, who accused Adebayor of showing a lack of loyalty during his last few months at the Emirates Stadium. Fortunately for Hughes he has an abundance of strikers, which he will need during Adebayor's lengthy absence through a double suspension, so they can compensate. • On a more positive note for City, I tipped them to win the Premier League. (Yes, I did. And, no I'm not mad!) And following Saturday's win against Arsenal such a bold prediction doesn't look quite as silly as it did at the time I made it. Remember how Matt Le Tissier tipped Burnley to beat Manchester United 'live' on Gillette Soccer Saturday? Paul Merson, sitting next to him, remarked: "Send for the straight jacket!" Well, Le Tiss got it right; no matter how much ridicule he took at the time. Paul had to eat plenty of humble pie that day. Maybe, my pre-season tip might just come off and then I would be doing a Le Tiss. Well, it's not looking too bad at the moment with Mark Hughes' side joining Chelsea as the only teams with 100% records, albeit they have played one fewer game. Oh, by the way, I did also suggest that Chelsea should be one of the contenders to win the title, and would be City's closest challengers. City's win over Arsenal will make people sit up and take them seriously, and the acid test comes in the Manchester derby next weekend when they take on Sir Alex's side. I watched United on ESPN's live broadcast, and you couldn't help but be impressed with the way they ended Spurs' impressive run of results at the Lane, and also put Harry Redknapp's emerging team in their place despite having Paul Scholes sent off. It's been a cheap shot to say United miss Cristiano Ronaldo whenever they lose. Well, I take the opposite approach. I am going to say they missed Ronaldo when they won! Yes, I still think they missed Ronaldo at the Lane, irrespective of how impressive they played even with 10-men. Over the course of the season, Untied will become too reliant on Wayne Rooney to deliver the goals in attack, just the way England are going to do in the Finals in South Africa. Both teams are very similar in that they possess goalscoring ability from midfield, but Rooney remains the spearhead for both club and country, and that's asking a lot for someone still relatively young in what promises to be a very long season for the lad. For me Hughes has taken the right approach in the transfer market, and this was the point I emphasised as the reasons for my tip that they could actually land the title. He has bought foreign players, but ones who have acclimatized to English football by playing here for some time, and with Gareth Barry in midfield, Hughes has invested his cash wisely. Come January when the top clubs will suffer from some serious long term injuries, suspensions, loss of form, and players lost to the African Nations Cup, Europe's elite will be loath to invest big in stop gap transfers. But City will be the New Year sales exception, capable of slapping down a further £100m if they feel they are within touching distance of the league title, or even Champions League qualification, which I feel is a near certainty. So, with that logical argument, watch out for more sparks from Sparky at City.

• Harry Harris has twice won the British Sports Journalist of the Year award. His book Down Memory Lane is now available.

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