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'Tevez remains a player who can change a game'

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Phil McNulty | 09:38 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2012

At Etihad Stadium

Roberto Mancini knew exactly what time it was as Manchester City stared into the face of a four-point deficit at the top of the Premier League. He lifted from the language of Sir Alex Ferguson to admit "it was squeaky bum time".

It was also time for an old feud to be forgotten. It was time for pragmatism to overcome what many regarded as the unpalatable. It was time for Carlos Tevez.

Gary Cahill's deflected goal on the hour gave Chelsea a lead they did not deserve and brought the frustration and anxiety that had been bubbling under at the Etihad to the surface. Manchester City faced the biggest pressure point of their season so far.

Mancini turned to Tevez, back as a substitute and £9.3m lighter in his wallet since it was claimed he refused to warm up in the Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich in Germany, and waved the Argentine into action.

Unlike that September night in the Allianz Arena, there was no communication breakdown or alleged insubordination. Six minutes later Tevez was on the touchline to replace Nigel de Jong, sent on with a pat on the back from the manager who had washed his hands of him not so long ago.

Tevez's reception was mixed and City's supporters swiftly turned to chants in support of Mancini, almost in a public expression of where their true loyalties lay. It was now up to Tevez to win over more hearts and minds.

Carlos Tevez helped set up Samir Nasri's late winner for Manchester City. Photo: AP

And so he did with a cameo that justified Mancini's willingness to forgive and forget, even if it is temporarily as a means to justify the end of winning the title, and suggested he may still exert significant impact on a season tainted with acrimony.

The stage was set after Sergio Aguero equalised from the spot, leaving Tevez playing his part with five minutes left. Showing composure and the awareness of time and space in a heavily-populated penalty area that is a gift of the most talented, Tevez slipped a neat reverse pass into the path of the outstanding Samir Nasri for City's winner.

Mancini pumped his fists in triumph as the Etihad erupted. It gave City a victory that closed the gap on United back to a single point. The Italian had set aside any lingering differences he may have with Tevez for what he regarded as the greater good of the team and had been rewarded.

And Mancini is wise enough to know that those supporters who jeered Tevez can have their feelings altered if he produces defining moments. No jeering was heard at the final whistle here. There were tears in defeat at Swansea's Liberty Stadium - not here.

How this previously fractured relationship holds together for the last nine games of the season remains to be seen, but here it was an obvious force for good.

Tevez may still need to shed a few pounds in the coming weeks but he remains a player who can change a game, a player opponents know can hurt them. This is what Mancini was counting on when he finally decided to recall him to the colours.

This was not simply a night for Tevez's rehabilitation. It was a night that should restore any self-belief City may have lost after defeat to Swansea City and the exit over two legs to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League.

City's supporters, in large part, stuck with their team but nerves have been frayed by recent faltering, resulting in even the normally untouchable David Silva feeling the rough edge of their tongues after a fluffed first-half corner.

And if City's players had any fears that a first title since 1967-68 was inexorably slipping away with Cahill's scrappy goal - complete with a nudge from David Luiz on Gareth Barry in the build-up - they were overcome.

Instead of cracking under the strain, instead of listening to the growing whispers that they were choking under pressure, City responded with character to push Chelsea back and claim a vital three points to offer up evidence that they are still a side with the ability to push the title race right to the final hurdle.

Mancini alluded to the long-term benefits accrued by the manner of this win when he said: "It is more than three points from this game. We took the points but it is more than that. It is important for what happens to us after this victory."

City still trail United by a point but Mancini will be delighted that they remain masters of their own destiny with Sir Alex Ferguson's side still to visit the Etihad - although the run-in looks kinder to the reigning champions than their pursuers.

Tevez's return will not have sat easily with many after the turbulence of the last six months, but Mancini was prepared to see the wider context.

It was a context that came into even sharper focus with the decline in Edin Dzeko's form and the vagaries of Mario Balotelli, who was substituted at half-time against Chelsea. Mancini simply explained afterwards: "I did not like how he played."

As Tevez continues a fitness regime, it is easy to see Mancini relying on an all-Argentine strike force with Aguero in the coming weeks. A powerful weapon and potent threat has been restored for City.

The pass that fashioned the winning goal was a very small step on Tevez's road to redemption in the eyes of many City supporters - but even those who are not easily willing to forgive or forget events of the past will agree it was a good starting point.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Blimey, you would have thought Jesus had just made his debut for Manchester City.

    As to Tevez, I wouldnt want him playing for my club, nor in my City, and to be honest from his interviews I am guessing the feelings mutual.

  • Comment number 2.

    Tevez is NOT £9.3m lighter in his wallet! He just hasn't earned most that money over that period. His fine was £1.2m.

  • Comment number 3.

    Unfortunately, the Chelsea of a month ago turned up.
    Torres looked lost again and Meireles was awful.

    Chelsea's lead was definitely against the run of play and it was probably a foul by Luiz.

    From then until the penalty (definitely a penalty) City looked a little short of belief and ideas, after the penalty there was only going to be one winner.

    Credit to City for winning and I expect it to go to the wire - both Utd and City will likely stumble at points to keep it tight.

  • Comment number 4.

    I reckon both Tevez and Mancini realise that the player has now 9 games in order to show the prospective buyers what he can do, and City will sell him on in the summer. I thought Chelsea were showing stronger stuff than they did last night. Lets hear who has refs playing for them now and giving penalties at crucial times in the season. I don't believe that stuff but many here seem to. Tevez is a great individual player in a team game, he didn't last at West Ham or United, I can't see him lasting at City.. It's shop window time, nothing more. I don't believe City didn't have someone else who could have turned the game for them.

  • Comment number 5.

    The end justifies the means, city pay his wages, use him! If he's rubbish bench him. Simple as!

  • Comment number 6.

    "I thought Chelsea were showing stronger stuff than they did last night."


    Jt has obviously taken a dislike to di Matteo since the Napoli game.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good Job Mr Mancini by substituting ineffective Mario at half time had he been on the pitch for second half City would have lost the game and title.I know some will mourn about the Tevez coming back but this is the right choice and right decision at the right time.
    Long live the King Carlos

  • Comment number 8.

    City's top 3 strikers (Mario, Dzeko, Aguero) have gone off the boil. Even our magician Silva too has underperformed.


    Is it a conincident that City's results have gone pear shape ever since de Jong has been inserted back in the starting lineup?

    Recall Hughes legacy of 7 draws with a 'holding midfielder'.

    To me its deja vu all over again.

  • Comment number 9.

    I thought the Chelsea goal was a foul on Barry by Luiz who made no attempt to play the ball. The penalty was fair as you just can't raise your arms like that and expect to get away with it. The winning goal was a lovely move. It keeps the title race alive for a few more days at least, but there can be no doubt - Utd will wrap up no 20 and City will be left to rue their poor away form.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well the result made things interesting at the top. No prizes for guessing the content of this blog - let Tevezmania rear its ugly head once again...!

    City, with their squad, will be there or thereabouts until the end of the season. As I said yesterday, if they're within 3 points of United come the derby, they must still be considered favourites. If they pick up 3 points at Stoke and the Emirates, I think they'll beat United at the Etihad.

    Chelsea, only lost a point to Spurs. Victory this weekend will really crank up the pressure. The Messiah 'Arry starting to get found out. Hope Spurs finish 4th but wouldn't want to put my money where my mouth is.

    Liverpool, hilariously it must be said, proved how mediocre a team they really are. Can anyone see any of the top 5, Everton or Newcastle giving up a 2-0 lead with half an hour to go?

    Think that result will lead to QPR staying up at the expense of Bolton, who will no doubt be affected by the tragic events of Saturday.

    Chelsea to make top 4 at the expense of Spurs, City to win title (just) and Wolves, Wigan and Bolton to go down is my prediction.

  • Comment number 11.

    "Liverpool, hilariously it must be said, proved how mediocre a team they really are. Can anyone see any of the top 5, Everton or Newcastle giving up a 2-0 lead with half an hour to go?"

    I seem to recall a team in Blue who gave up a 3 goal lead not so long ago in just over 30 minutes.

    sure they didnt lose the game, but even so.

  • Comment number 12.

    7. At 11:25 22nd Mar 2012, vimbly Big in the Game wrote:
    Good Job Mr Mancini by substituting ineffective Mario at half time had he been on the pitch for second half City would have lost the game and title.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    To be honest Mario wasn't on the field (after 46th. min) when Cahill scored (60th. min)
    It was only after de Jong was subbed out (66th. min) that the midfield was more cohesive, incisive with their passes and providing great service to the strikers to allow City to score in the 78th. & 85th. min).

    City needs not have to have a poor man's midfielder as a holding midfielder in the starting lineup (going for a draw?) when we have an array of rich talent to go for the win and to ratchet or ramp up the score.

    As such we have an uphill battle to come from behind to win. Starting NDJ does not augurs well for City.

    Is it a coincident that the strikers (Mario, Dzeko, Aguero even Silva has gone off the boil) ever since NDJ was reinserted in the lineup?

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 - Man City with their wealth of attacking talent need at least 1 if not 2 defensive midfielders. If you doubt that just look at the Lisbon game at the Etihad. Virtually 4-1-4-1 in the 1st half and Lisbon took full advantage of the lack of defensive cover to go 2-0 in front. Mancini takes off Johnson for de Jong (a move very few managers would make in the same situation, Mourinho being possibly the only other manager I can think would do that) and you win 3-2 and were unlucky not to get the 4th goal to send you through.

    So if anything I'd say de Jong improved your performance at least in that game.

    Last night again, bringing Barry on for Balotelli was a move that allowed 1 of your better players on the night (Yaya Toure) more freedom.

    Mancini has consistently shown he is not afraid to make 'defensive' substitutions to make the team a greater threat going forward and most managers could learn a lot from him in terms of gauging what the required balance is and making decisive changes to rectify any problems.

  • Comment number 14.

    United fans here are terrified of Mario and his BRACE ;)

  • Comment number 15.

    10. At 11:36 22nd Mar 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote: " Can anyone see any of the top 5, Everton or Newcastle giving up a 2-0 lead with half an hour to go?"

    Didn't Chelsea give up a 3 goal lead against Utd?

  • Comment number 16.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/8979858.stm

    That one also jumps directly to mind (when trying to think of around 30 minutes)

  • Comment number 17.

    No defence for Liverpool last night, checked the score at 72mins, thought yes the points are in the bag. Watched the end of Chelsea city then checked the results could not beleive it. Did not even bother watching MOTD as it would have been too depressing. Amazed were still 7th though and will not give up hope of fourth until it is mathematically impossible. IMHO Adams should always play second fiddle to Maxi and Bellamy should always get in ahead of Carroll, Lucas will definately ease out Henderson when he's fit. the new players basically have added nothing to our squad that we didnt already have. Kenny is a legend but buying British does not pay dividends times have changed and we could have got some quality foreigners with that money.
     

  • Comment number 18.

    13.At 11:41 22nd Mar 2012, C Payne wrote:

    ------------

    Agreed. With that wealth of attacking talent, City almost need 2 holding midfielders to operate.

    Tevez & Aguero, while good at harrying defenders and the 'keeper, don't often drop in to support the midfield.

    Silva and Nasri aren't known to be most vigilant at tracking their full backs either.

    That said, it means the opposition's full backs find it difficult to get forward for fear of getting picked off on the counter.

    When City play high tempo, one touch stuff, with their forwards, they are irresistable. But like the first half yesterday, that seems to have deserted them lately.

    All the above said, it only needs a moment of magic from their geniuses up front to unlock even the best defences as we saw yesterday.

  • Comment number 19.

    15.At 11:43 22nd Mar 2012, mrs svennis wrote:
    16.At 11:46 22nd Mar 2012, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:

    ------------

    Sorry, that should've read "Can anyone see any of the top 5, Everton or Newcastle giving up a 2-0 lead AGAINST RELEGATION FODDER with half an hour to go?"

    But I take your points :)

  • Comment number 20.

    Amazed were still 7th though and will not give up hope of fourth until it is mathematically impossible.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Hats off to the most optimistic post ever....

  • Comment number 21.

    8.Goluboy

    Aguero off the boil?? Please.

    Now where are all those people chatting rubbish yesterday predicting a Chelsea win, i look forward to your thoughts today.........Que pathetic rants and childish jibes......

  • Comment number 22.

    Phil,
    Do you recall football pundits slagging Hughes with his draw mentality and tactics?

    IMO the presence of a holding midfielder in de Jong has held back City who have a potent lethal strike force. Without him City was a record breaking goal scoring machine

    Furthermore IMO its a myth that de Jong is a WC Holding midfielder.

    Recall the Luke Moore's header to allow Swansea to beat City. IMO That could have been preventable if de Jong has the aerial and athletic ability (for Luke was his to cover).

    Watch the goal highlight again.

    The key to City's title success should be getting a better central midfielder. VK should be great CM to provide cover for the CBs (Lescott, Kolo, Micah). VK has all the physical and athletic and football attributes for the pivotal role and central position.

    Yes de Jong presence can change a game. Give a thought about that

    Thats the key of why City has lost the edge in the title chase where once we were topping the table with 5 points and a substantial goal difference.

  • Comment number 23.

    Would many managers still be in a jon having spent around 100 Million and throwing away 2 goal leads and sitting 7th in the table 3 points off a newly promoted team?

    Queen Kenny must be nervous........

  • Comment number 24.

    *job

  • Comment number 25.

    McDonalds United fans are in a real panic about the return of Tevez...wonder why?

    Anyone would think Tevez had done a Giggs and dragged himself and the name of his club through the mud, through the House of Commons and back to the Theatre of Injunctions.

  • Comment number 26.

    #21
    I don't recall that many predicting a Chelsea win given City's home form this season. Even less would have done given Chelsea's team selection. It's the away games where City need to improve and whilst they're good enough to win them, they've got a few stinkers coming up.

  • Comment number 27.

    #20 Yes very poor from Liverpool, great for QPR. In fact there was only 15 minutes left before QPR's first.

  • Comment number 28.

    #18 City played well in the 1st half but virtually every move broke down with crosses into the box.

    Now for starters Man City don't need to play that way because they have enough quality to keep the ball on the ground and secondly unless Dzeko is on the pitch any half decent centre back will go "please cross it in, you're making my job so simple".

    Yet ironically they kept it far more on the floor when Dzeko came on the pitch and it was the keeping it on the floor that directly resulted in the winning goal.

  • Comment number 29.

    I don't think City supporters should get bleary eyed over Tevez. He's not a City player.

    He and the club are simply using each other for mutual gain till the end of the season. Him to sell himself to prospective buyers (because lets face it unless he proves himself worth the risk who would want to touch him with a 10ft pole), and City to drive up the price to something like they expect from him.

    All in all no one loses, but lets not pretend either the club or player are doing it out of any loyalty or respect for one another.

  • Comment number 30.

    26.At 11:57 22nd Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:

    ah you must have missed the end of Phil's last blogs, the rags out 'there is always next year' etc etc.....makes last nights result even sweeter.

    the fixture list may look worse in our favour but i think United have some trciky teams to play playing for their survival in the league.

  • Comment number 31.

    25.At 11:56 22nd Mar 2012, Sams Town wrote:
    McDonalds United fans are in a real panic about the return of Tevez...wonder why?

    Anyone would think Tevez had done a Giggs and dragged himself and the name of his club through the mud, through the House of Commons and back to the Theatre of Injunctions.

    --------------

    Hmm. So Giggsy (allegedly) got a leg over some z-lister and his sister-in-law. Noone cared about that rubbish apart from the red tops and some politicians wanting their 15 minutes of fame.

    What can't be doubted is he has never jeopardised United on the pitch. Tevez situation is totally different but I had no doubts he'd play again for City.

    They need to get some money back for him, he needs to find a new club. What better shop window than a Premier League title winning run in?

    Only the media and self-righteous fans who still believe they should raise their kids to be like their footballing idols gave a c***, most realists will acknowledge football these days is a game void of principals and full of greed and only watch it for the entertainment value and maybe blind faith.

  • Comment number 32.

    I know its unrelated, and I really shouldn't, but am I the only one enjoying Spur's fall from grace ?

    I dont quite know why I am enjoying it, but I am :/

  • Comment number 33.

    If you beat the teams you should beat but only have an average record against the other so called top 3/4 teams, you can win the title.

    If you beat the other so called top 3/4 teams but only have an average record against the teams you should beat, you wont win the title. How many times have Liverpool prospered against the better teams and then failed against so called inferior teams ?

    United have often had little more than mediocre head to head records against the better teams but they beat those teams they are expected to beat.

    Last night told us little, Chelsea's old uns are a spent force (nice tracking back lampard), they have to be thankful that Spurs are about to explode, it is the likes of Stoke away where the title will be decided.

  • Comment number 34.

    30.At 11:59 22nd Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    26.At 11:57 22nd Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:

    ah you must have missed the end of Phil's last blogs, the rags out 'there is always next year' etc etc.....makes last nights result even sweeter.

    the fixture list may look worse in our favour but i think United have some trciky teams to play playing for their survival in the league.

    -------------

    Both teams will drop points. Can't see United winning every game until the derby but I have been wrong before...

    City will probably be galvanised by this result and knock off most of their fixtures with minimal fuss. Speaking as a United fan, I'm hoping Arsenal haven't got CL football sewn up by the time City visit so they actually play for a win.

    Right now, mid table teams with nothing to play for are probably the best fixtures to have. Subconciously, many of their players will already be thinking about which character from The Only Way Is Essex they're going to get off with in Magaluf this summer.

  • Comment number 35.

    26.
    At 11:57 22nd Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    I don't recall that many predicting a Chelsea win
    ______________________________

    Just one poster "GenesisRed " said Torres to get 2 goals and Tevez to get 1 , but he didnt say that Chelsea would win.

    I cant find any posts that actually state that Chelsea would win ?

  • Comment number 36.

    #30
    True, as I was saying yesterday I expected City to win last night and there's a long way to go. We have got relegation scrappers to play but so have City, as well as Stoke, Arsenal and Newcastle away. Obviously it never pans out as everyone expects and no doubt lots will happen but prior to the derby, the only game for United that stands out as difficult is Blackburn away.

  • Comment number 37.

    33.At 12:10 22nd Mar 2012, John wrote:

    --------------

    Liverpool are the ultimate underdogs. They will always raise their game against the big teams in front of the TV cameras.

    However, they do not have the nous or mindset to consistently break down teams who still consider Liverpool as one of their biggest games of the season.

    They are an upper mid-table team with aspirations or what they think is a divine right to challenge for the title.

  • Comment number 38.

    31.
    At 12:05 22nd Mar 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote:
    Hmm. So Giggsy (allegedly) got a leg over some z-lister and his sister-in-law. Noone cared about that rubbish apart from the red tops and some politicians wanting their 15 minutes of fame.
    _____________________________________

    I would think his brother and his wife cared about it ....a lot !!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    36.At 12:12 22nd Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    #30
    True, as I was saying yesterday I expected City to win last night and there's a long way to go. We have got relegation scrappers to play but so have City, as well as Stoke, Arsenal and Newcastle away. Obviously it never pans out as everyone expects and no doubt lots will happen but prior to the derby, the only game for United that stands out as difficult is Blackburn away.

    ----------------

    Blackburn will probably be relatively safe by then as I think they'll beat Bolton this weekend. That said, United is one of the teams they raise their game for so it's definately no gimme.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nasri was fantastic last night, The perfect way to shut critics up is with performances like that! he was getting stick in Phil's last blog too and im hoping those people show up today too. the win last night showed great character and with a tough away trip to Stoke it was just what we needed!

    Blue moon! come on city!

  • Comment number 41.

    38.At 12:14 22nd Mar 2012, repo wrote:
    31.
    At 12:05 22nd Mar 2012, becks-phone-call-went-to-me wrote:
    Hmm. So Giggsy (allegedly) got a leg over some z-lister and his sister-in-law. Noone cared about that rubbish apart from the red tops and some politicians wanting their 15 minutes of fame.
    _____________________________________

    I would think his brother and his wife cared about it ....a lot !!!!

    ---------------

    Nothing a fat "apology" cheque and a season ticket wouldn't resolve...!

  • Comment number 42.

    #41. becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    thought a handshake solved everything?

  • Comment number 43.

    Where are all the ex Man Utd folks predicting City's downfall today then eh?

    As a neutral I thought all those articles yesterday had a heavy stink of BS.

    City proved last night they have the balls to take the title, and as I predicted at the start of the season - they will.

    No defending Liverpool's collapse last night - truly poor. Just as well they have a cup double to aim for and will end up with more silverware than Arsenal, Man Utd and Spurs this season.

  • Comment number 44.

    42.At 12:21 22nd Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    #41. becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    thought a handshake solved everything?

    ------------------

    If he had banged Rio's ex or been racially abused it may have! This was more a Jeremy Kyle issue. He had to up the stakes!

  • Comment number 45.

    Tevez made little difference-Citeh SHOULD have been 3-1 ahead when the pen came, they were always better on the night, if not at their best.

    Never a pen, but Mike Dean's the sort of ref who does that for every home team if he gets the option, us, Liverpool, Chelski & Arsenal included. Shame he had to rescue their season last night, though, from what would have been an undeserved defeat.

    Citeh must improve their recent away form, otherwise the exemplary home form will possibly count for nothing come the middle of May. They definitely need to win at Stoke on Saturday night to start getting that bit right.

  • Comment number 46.

    #45., kickoutthejams

    Never a pen

    ..........................

    WUM alert

  • Comment number 47.

    Mancini has yet again got it 100% spot on right not that the media will ever give him any praise. Tevez is a city player he can pick any city player he feels will help city win. He did that despite (I am sure) strong personal feelings. As he came on last night I stood there think this isn’t right I didn’t clap him on (why others did I am not sure) but I didn’t boo either he was wearing our shirt. I did however cheer the goal he set up and I will cheer when he scores for us. The one thing we all knew about Tevez is he will give 100% on the pitch (when he gets on) and as the old guy I talk to before every home game said we are all only bothered because he is a very good player no one would have worried for 1 second had Santa “Cruise” refused to play.

    Worry you red boys Tevez will be the kick we need you know it thus the nonsense posts

  • Comment number 48.

    Tevez is a world-class striker, probably the 3rd best in the prem (behind RVP and Aguero). He has clearly disrespected City, but even if he is now only playing to put himself in the shop window, I don't care, as long as he puts in 100% effort.

    He did well last night, with a sublime assist for Nasri's winner. What is even more encouraging is that despite his performance, he was clearly not yet at 100% fitness - when he does get fully fit, I expect him to give city that extra threat which will win them their first League title.

  • Comment number 49.

    Chelsea were absolutely dreadful last night. The amount of times they wasted attacking opportunities was rather alarming. Attempting tricks but running the ball out, completely wayward passes. A League One team would have been embarrassed by the technique on show by Chelsea, let alone one of the supposed "big 4".

    I don't mean to pick on Chelsea, they have plenty problems, but my point is that they were very poor so making out that this is a pivotal moment is a bit off the mark. Most teams in the league could have beaten that Chelsea performance so lets not make a fuss over the team second in the league managing it.

    For me the biggest thing was Nasri's performance. I've not watched a lot of City games but those I've watched, he's been completely AWOL. However last night he was their best player and got the winning goal.

    Tevez will leave at the end of the season anyway so I don't see the point in people getting worked up. City need freshening up. Both want Tevez to be sold and for that he needs to play & prove himself.

  • Comment number 50.

    Classic Mcnulty.
    Yesterday City were a team struggling, and now they are a rejuvinated "unit".


    Still awaiting that Newcastle blog.

  • Comment number 51.

    Am i the only one who thinks tevez should never have been frozen out in the first place? I don't rate mancini at all and i thought he acted like a child with dropping tevez. like he was just trying to prove his power. a case of cutting off his nose to spite his face?

    He had been easily city's best player the last couple of seasons. yes, he shouldn't have refused to come on/warm up, but i'm sure this happens fairly often (eg. diego forlan). If anything it looked like he was angry at the manager making an unambitious substitution earlier in the game.

    If he was at any other club, he would have had to work something out - only city could afford to write off one of their biggest assets. people keep comparing it to rooney, but the way SAF resolved that just proved how much better his man management skills are than mancini's

  • Comment number 52.

    also, can the bbc not afford better writers? other than tim vickery i don't think i've heard/read an insightful comment from a bbc pundit/journalist. I'd love to read an article looking at a teams tactical setup or looking at some up and coming youngsters in europe

  • Comment number 53.

    Hate the term 'deserving', if a game is so marginal that it changes on one decision then you are as undeserving as otherwise but last night Chelsea mustered 2 shots on target, one the goal from a deflection that masked how insipid they were. Have a lot of Chelsea mates and have to report it really does appear that the size of the job as much as the nature of it was AVB's downfall. Major overhaul required.

    Fantastic atmosphere and reaction to going behind from all around the ground. I seem to have developed a Tourette's reaction from the hour mark of every game now. Apologies to those nearby.

    Nasri absolutely superb but we cannot accommodate both he and Silva in the centre yet. Roberto needs to make a call there as David is having a blip and neither are effective out wide. Earlier post suggesting our strikers are off the boil is just plain wrong. They have all scored recently and Aguero has been immense. Our problem is the slow build up play through the centre. But I do not want to see AJ starting.

    Tevez? Get him fit. Get him contributing. Get him out.

  • Comment number 54.

    No defending Liverpool's collapse last night - truly poor. Just as well they have a cup double to aim for and will end up with more silverware than Arsenal, Man Utd and Spurs this season

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Possibly more silverware than all three, but meaningless without Champions League football for a club like Liverpool. Over £100 million wasted to become a 'good domestic cup team' but a laughing stock in the league.

  • Comment number 55.

    @20 you have to be optimistic, anything can happen in football these days. Please who ever said queen kenny needs educating, he is called King Kenny for a reason check his record as a player and a manager. A cup double would be a great consolation, but CL is the competition we want to be in. Just for the record I think the CL should be for actual Champions ie league champions, FA cup winners, Carling cup winners. This would improve the quality of these tournaments as teams would take it seriously, field strong teams as a result more entertainment!

  • Comment number 56.

    "people keep comparing it to rooney, but the way SAF resolved that just proved how much better his man management skills are than mancini's"

    tevez gets frozen out until he apologizes

    Rooney gets a pay rise for questioning the club's ambitions and the abilities of his teammates.....

  • Comment number 57.

    Yet more incisive, insightful and thought-provoking journalism from the McNulty keyboard. Err...not.

    This blog must be the easiest money that any hack has ever earned. How I wish I could earn a living by stating - at great length - the blindingly obvious.

    You must be laughing all the way to the bank, Phil.

  • Comment number 58.

    What on earth was the half hearted team that RDM put out? Methinks he was pulling out a favour for his italian comrade.

    How anyone complains about man utd getting favourable decisions must clearly ignore the games in which arsenal & city play. How drenthe's goal can be ruled offside is odd, calls for specsavers for the linesman!!

  • Comment number 59.

    Tevez? Get him fit. Get him contributing. Get him out.



    Well said.

  • Comment number 60.

    This blog is unfortunately full of gloating United fans who still can't believe City are where they are or how good they are. Fact is Mancini has from now until the end of the season to convince Carlos Tevez just how much he needs Man City and not the other way around. There have always been boo boys around, in this case the crowd must convince him that they want him to stay, he's certainly good enough and very well paid - he should make up a very good partnership with Aguero - and they don't need to speak English!!

  • Comment number 61.

    #10

    Arsenal, officially 22 minutes left on the clock throw away a 4 goal lead

  • Comment number 62.

    #55.

    You are only saying that because Liverpool won the cardboard cup. Are you honestly telling us the Champions League would have been better with Birmingham (no offence to Birmingham intended) rather than Chelsea? I agree with the sentiment that it should only be champions in it, but when you need more teams next in the league should get places it for consistency not the lucky cup winners. Plus I think with the bigger "super" teams not always taking FA Cup and Carling Cup so seriously it levels the playing field a bit more and gives other teams a chance to win something.

  • Comment number 63.

    This blog is unfortunately full of gloating United fans

    --------------------------------------------------

    Gloating that City won?

  • Comment number 64.

    30.At 11:59 22nd Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    _______________

    Time will tell...........I fancy 3 points, 3-4 goals at OT for utd, a tough fixture on a "cold wet windy night" in Stoke.

  • Comment number 65.

    Penalty? Was it deliberate? Did it gain an advantage? Dean was wrong.

    Balotelli - what is it? Professional or spoilt brat?

    Tevez - has made Mancini look like a mug. 'Dis man will NEVER play for us again - is not possible'. Should he even be considered when you have £86m of 'talent' up front?

    City are almost as amusing now as Arsenal and Liverpool have been over the past few years. Whatever will happen next at the Circus Etihad?

  • Comment number 66.

    53.
    At 12:44 22nd Mar 2012, il_birbone wrote

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree with your comment about the pace we move the ball.

    Earlier in the season we were zipping the ball about and now we have adopted a more patient approach, this allows teams to get behind the ball and makes it difficult to break them down.

    Saying that CITY had a lot of space down the left hand side and failed to put decent balls into the box.

    Signori, great comment about Nasri, best game in a while last night, it seemed to "up" the pace when we needed it.

    I thought Micah and Toure also played well at the back.

  • Comment number 67.

    43.At 12:21 22nd Mar 2012, dogeared wrote:
    _____________

    Not if you play like you did last night. Are you still doing better than Woy?

  • Comment number 68.

    52.
    At 12:43 22nd Mar 2012, milan_fan wrote:

    also, can the bbc not afford better writers? other than tim vickery i don't think i've heard/read an insightful comment from a bbc pundit/journalist. I'd love to read an article looking at a teams tactical setup or looking at some up and coming youngsters in europe
    __________________________________________
    I don't have a problem with Phil's blogs most of the time - even when what he writes is pretty obvious and uninspiring, he usually rounds off his articles in a way designed to kick-start the debate in the comments section. It's pretty hard, if I'm honest, to write anything genuinely insightful about last night's game, whereas Tim Vickery can write anything about South American football and it will seem more insightful because we don't know nearly as much about that part of the world. That said, I do think Tim is a very good sports journalist.

    Alistair MacGowan occasionally writes 'The Football Tactics Blog' to partly fulfil your first request, but where I do agree with you is that I'd like us to have more blogs/places to comment and more variety of topic now that 606 is gone. We used to have 'Robbo' Robson, Phil Minshull and another chap who mainly wrote about Arshavin but they all seem to have disappeared.

  • Comment number 69.

    50.At 12:35 22nd Mar 2012, The_Forehead_Of_Gervinho wrote:
    Classic Mcnulty.
    Yesterday City were a team struggling, and now they are a rejuvinated "unit".


    Still awaiting that Newcastle blog.
    ______________

    You'll be waiting a long time mate!

    I think even if they finish 4th, there will still be no blog on newcastle. Why on earth he chose 2 blogs on city (or tevez) is beyond me, much like the 3 on AVB, and the 5 on suarez-evra before that.

    Still waiting on that blog about the pure quality of darron gibson.

  • Comment number 70.

    OH DEAR. Phil, yet again you have made no attaempt to hide your impartiality. How are you getting away with this? Does anyone at the BBC actually review your work before you click 'post'? Now, I know you haven't suddenly just become a Man City fan have you; big money stretches a long way (i will gladly audit your financial affairs). But please, dispense with the perpetual insulting of your readers and at least attempt a match report. I am not the only one who thinks this column is a badly disguised man city press release. Wake up and smell the ethics committee

  • Comment number 71.

    69.At 13:21 22nd Mar 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:

    You'll be waiting a long time mate!

    I think even if they finish 4th, there will still be no blog on newcastle. Why on earth he chose 2 blogs on city (or tevez) is beyond me, much like the 3 on AVB, and the 5 on suarez-evra before that.

    Still waiting on that blog about the pure quality of darron gibson.

    __________________________

    Such a steal for Everton... Granted there was a blog about David Moyes, but there was no mention of his signing of Darren Gibson. A man who can pass across 6 yards like Xavi, or Leon Britton. And a man with the shooting power of Thomas Hitlzsperger. What a player. Possibly the best foreign signing in the history of the premier league.
    Behind Papiss Cisse of course.

  • Comment number 72.

    For a number of games now City have not played as well as they did earlier in the season. However, they are still capable of scoring goals and goals win matches. For the first 15 minutes they played well and then fizzled out (yet again) until the last 20 minutes. Whatever the business with Tevez it should have been settled earlier and he should have been playing games not missing them - for the good of himself and the club paying his wages. If he had been playing would we now be in 2nd position? Will he go at the end of the season, who cares? Let us hope we win the Premiership, that's all!

  • Comment number 73.

    @43
    "Where are all the ex Man Utd folks predicting City's downfall today then eh?

    As a neutral I thought all those articles yesterday had a heavy stink of BS."

    Sorry Dogeared really don't think you can count yourself as a neutral, what with being a Liverpool fan. It'd be like a Spurs fan not caring about an Arsenal vs Chelsea match. :-)

    As for the game, City were favourites going into the game & they pretty much played Chelsea off the pitch, but for a lucky goal and some great goalkeeping from Cech the result could have been (and probably should've been) a lot bigger. Definately some work to be done at Stamford Bridge.

    The destination of the title?? I'd like to say United will win it, prefer to see a team of young developed players beat a group of stars, but the ability for United to slip up and the array of scoring options City have, it will be close.

    It'll all come down to April 30th and I for one would expect City to come out on top for that game.

  • Comment number 74.

    OH DEAR. Phil, yet again you have made no attaempt to hide your lack of impartiality. How are you getting away with this? Does anyone at the BBC actually review your work before you click 'post'? Now, I know you haven't suddenly just become a Man City fan have you; big money stretches a long way (i will gladly audit your financial affairs). But please, dispense with the perpetual insulting of your readers and at least attempt a match report. I am not the only one who thinks this column is a badly disguised man city press release. Wake up and smell the ethics committee

  • Comment number 75.

    I think all City fans will have mixed feelings about the return of Tevez. He showed no respect to our great club and that will never be forgotten. Yet looking at it in a purely pragmatic way, he is a huge asset and can be important in the run-in. Very few players would have seen the reverse pass to Nasri last night, its a very small step on the way to redemption for the Argentine.

    Last nights victory was massive for Manchester City. Mancini was clearly relieved and City fully deserved the three points. Yaya Toure dominated the Chelsea midfield, Richards looked very capable at centre back and Nasri showed the imagination and awareness that has been lacking for most of his tenure at the Etihad. Keeping within striking distance of their near neighbours is the key for City over the coming weeks.

    Mancini is looking as strong as ever. He never gives much away, win or lose and that is the smart way to deal with the situation. There is no point in getting into the pathetic games Ferguson likes to play. The Italian only shows interest in his own club and his own players, its a good sign.

    Every game from now becomes the biggest game of the season. City have the talent and we are seeing the fight and the will to succeed. There are definitely more twists and turns to come.

    One final thought. Many City fans last night sang '...that Carlos Tevez, he plays when he wants...'. Its a sign of the self deprecating humour and optimism that most City fans have and its one of the big reasons why I love this club. Can't imagine them singing that in the Stretford end.....

  • Comment number 76.

    Phil, yet again you have made no attaempt to hide your lack of impartiality. How are you getting away with this? Does anyone at the BBC actually review your work before you click 'post'? Now, I know you haven't suddenly just become a Man City fan have you; big money stretches a long way (i will gladly audit your financial affairs). But please, dispense with the perpetual insulting of your readers and at least attempt a match report. I am not the only one who thinks this column is a badly disguised man city press release. Wake up and smell the ethics committee

  • Comment number 77.

    OH DEAR. Phil, yet again you have made no attempt to hide your lack of impartiality. How are you getting away with this? Does anyone at the BBC actually review your work before you click 'post'? Now, I know you haven't suddenly just become a Man City fan have you; big money stretches a long way (i will gladly audit your financial affairs). But please, dispense with the perpetual insulting of your readers and at least attempt a match report. I am not the only one who thinks this column is a badly disguised man city press release. Wake up and smell the ethics committee

  • Comment number 78.

    71.At 13:27 22nd Mar 2012, The_Forehead_Of_Gervinho wrote:
    ______________

    It's no coincidence that everton's form has dipped ever since his injury. he would have been the spark to unluck arsenal's defence yesterday. (although they did that once only to have their goal ruled out for an imaginary offside).

    Papiss Cisse has been a revelation so far, let's hope Newcastle hang onto 6th and push hard for 5th. Hopefully their players will stay and it can be a real top 6 fight for the title.

  • Comment number 79.

    I bet all the man city fans were nervous yesterday when they played the team they used to support..........

  • Comment number 80.

    68.
    At 13:15 22nd Mar 2012, SummersIron wrote:
    _____________________________________

    The blogs from Vickery are just informative , anyone could write those articles by just using "wikipedia".

    McNulty writes about current issues often changing his opinion on each blog. But at least gives us all a chance to sound off.

    The best writer is Chick Young , I just love his style.

  • Comment number 81.

    65.
    At 13:11 22nd Mar 2012, cougarforest2 wrote:


    Penalty? Was it deliberate? Did it gain an advantage? Dean was wrong.

    Balotelli - what is it? Professional or spoilt brat?

    Tevez - has made Mancini look like a mug. 'Dis man will NEVER play for us again - is not possible'. Should he even be considered when you have £86m of 'talent' up front?

    City are almost as amusing now as Arsenal and Liverpool have been over the past few years. Whatever will happen next at the Circus Etihad?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Good analogy about the circus for your comments are those of a clown!

    Most referees (me being one) will tell you when a player puts is hands up and the ball is heading to the goal then a penalty kick is the only outcome.

    CITY are amusing, may it continue, may we continue to attend the ETIHAD with a smile on our face and let the other team in Salford contine their bitterness.

  • Comment number 82.

    Time for the BBC to sack Alan Hanson and produce a new MOD format. His contribution last night (Wed) was ludicrous. "Man City are struggling, spent so much money, lost 4 away games, etc." whilst Liverpool "no crisis there" !
    Kenny D. has spent a fortune also but where has it got Liverpool? To get back into the top 4 Kenny will need to spend 3 times what he has spent already and still no guarantee. Time for Hanson to go.

  • Comment number 83.

    82.At 13:37 22nd Mar 2012, billb45 wrote:
    Time for the BBC to sack Alan Hanson and produce a new MOD format. His contribution last night (Wed) was ludicrous. "Man City are struggling, spent so much money, lost 4 away games, etc." whilst Liverpool "no crisis there" !
    Kenny D. has spent a fortune also but where has it got Liverpool? To get back into the top 4 Kenny will need to spend 3 times what he has spent already and still no guarantee. Time for Hanson to go.
    _________________

    Totally agree with you. Although the BBC wont sack him, he's been there too long. One of the old boys.
    His analysis of Balotelli was beyond a joke. The boys scoring record for City has been fantastic! Much better than Luis "rattle the crossbar" Suarez.
    Liverpool have been a joke this season. As has Alan Hansen.

  • Comment number 84.

    81.
    At 13:37 22nd Mar 2012, Bertie Button wrote:
    Most referees (me being one) will tell you when a player puts is hands up and the ball is heading to the goal then a penalty kick is the only outcome.
    _________________________________________

    I must admit I only saw the incident once on the highlights , but a lot of those type of penalty incidents have not been given due to the defending player being close to the shooting player.
    I cant remember how close Essien was , but he was quite close. It did look like ball to hand with Essien just trying to protect his face.

  • Comment number 85.

    Good posts by Bertie Button and billb45, Hanson finds it hard to hide his Liverpool roots nowadays but is certainly anti-City.

    He hasn't yet criticised Dalgleish this season and probably never will. Lawrenson is slightly better but not by much. They should rename MOTD the "You'll never walk alone show"

  • Comment number 86.

    81.At 13:37 22nd Mar 2012, Bertie Button wrote:
    "Most referees (me being one) will tell you when a player puts is hands up and the ball is heading to the goal then a penalty kick is the only outcome." - Any professional comments on the arsenal v everton game? Good offside call? Difficult call to make?

    "CITY are amusing, may it continue, may we continue to attend the ETIHAD with a smile on our face and let the other team in Salford contine their bitterness." - Will City be bidding for berbatov to bolster their team of ex man utd rejects?

  • Comment number 87.

    83.At 13:43 22nd Mar 2012, The_Forehead_Of_Gervinho wrote:
    _____________

    What do you expect? MOTD is a liverpool / newcastle love in. Their analysis is "elementary" at best. I just watch it for the highlights, but switch off for hte post match analysis, although it is funny to hear a post match kenny after his team lost after being 2-0 up. There's always that warrior deal!!

  • Comment number 88.

    @55

    I'm sure you didn't want the system to change when Liverpool comfortably qualified each season in the top 4. Change the goal post because now Liverpool can't win League matches. I see your point of the 'Champions League' should be for Champions, it really should be each champion of each European country. But then it would be full of teams similar to San Marino and Andorra standards.

    Tevez is a good player but it proves there are no morals at City if they play him again after he disappears for months, making anyway possible to get rid of the club. Still I am sure no City fan will care if they win the league with him in the squad or he gets the winner against United.

    City deserved their win last night and I don't think any United fan were banking on Chelsea doing them a favour. Still nine games to go, twenty-seven more points to gain, and a head-to-head. Will be an exciting finish till the end.

  • Comment number 89.

    82. Completely agree. Got back from the game to watch Hansen in stunned silence. We break the record for wins at home. Mancini shows (again) his tactical awareness with his substitutions. Nasri was immense. An in-form and the League's only CL representatives team beaten. What do we get? A petty diatribe against Balotelli with his 'opinion' that he's no world beater and he shouldn't play again this season. Utterly pathetic.

    As for Lee Dixon? I'd hate to have you alongside me in the trenches if that is the defence of a fan. Oh and analysis has to be more than just knowing how to press rewind. Lazy, clueless and gutless.

    The BBC advertises itself as impartial. Sorry you're no better than Sky.

  • Comment number 90.

    cirt fans are embarrassing, welcoming back tevez as if nothing had happened, i was hoping for lots of boo's but he came on like a hero returning back from war, he pretty much has got away with his appalling behaviour, he is now holding all the cards as city desperately need him now to challenge for the prem, having tevez back and playing for city just goes to show to all the young kids that when and if you make it as a professional footballer you can act however you want

    its all going to end up in tears anyway as man utd have been in this spot time and time again and will only get stronger towards the end of the season and will in my mind no doubt cruise towards another title

    tevez, i really dont like you and your attitude dont you ever ever ever sign for chelsea!

  • Comment number 91.

    86.

    "Will City be bidding for berbatov to bolster their team of ex man utd rejects?"

    probably not...........but they may continue to spend big money to buy the quality players United can no longer afford.........

  • Comment number 92.

    I missed the weather report last night. Has hell frozen over? Or was Mancini lying?

  • Comment number 93.

    @21

    Mcdonalds United? Where on earth did you get that from?

    You can have Tevez if you want him, I would rather have players that want to be at the club than someone raking in millions but 'feels homesick' and flying all the way home, and after over 5 years of being in England knows less English than a 2 year old.

    He rich enough to create 'Little Argie' in Manchester!

  • Comment number 94.

    I think that Chelsea did not do a good game ... and as a fan of the City, but I think it was quite buggy but was much more ... As for Tevez, is a good player and very talented ... the problem is a very problematic in all the clubs that took part had problems, and the city was no exception, I am Argentine and I am proud to have a player like Tevez, punchy and temperament, but I hate her disrespect.

  • Comment number 95.

    Out of interest, I'm hoping the anoraks out there can help me out. Have man utd ever lost the league after being top with 9 games to go?

  • Comment number 96.

    91.At 13:58 22nd Mar 2012, paullakesknees wrote:
    _____________

    Like milner, toure, adebayor, barry, savic, hargreaves etc?

    With a squad that good no wonder man utd are top in spite of the number of injuries they have had.

  • Comment number 97.

    Carlos Tevez is a great player, very hard-working and dedicated. i just hope he can tone down on the stupidity that makes him hated among the Man City fans- demanding transfers when he's most needed and showing disrespect to his manager. Kudos to Mancini for burying the hatchet, this guy could win Man City the league. Though as a Manchester United fan, I pray and hope this doesn't happen. Come on you Reds! BEL20VE.

  • Comment number 98.

    Bertie Button said

    "Most referees (me being one) will tell you when a player puts is hands up and the ball is heading to the goal then a penalty kick is the only outcome"

    Nonsense -

    here is a good explanation for you - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/rules_and_equipment/4524354.stm

    Was Essien's action deliberate? No.

    If that was a penalty, then Mike Dean must think Essien is Superman.

    I think you will find that 'the other team in Salford' are not so much 'bitter' as you put it, but are highly amused at the antics emanating from the ETIHAD.

    I personally do not have anything against City, and would be happy if you were to win the league this season, but I do find Balotelli, Mancini and the Tevez debacle really amusing. Don't you?

  • Comment number 99.

    i predicted a draw last night and city deservidly won the game, will be a test this weekend against stoke which is never a easy place to go in the league,(united,chelsea,tottenham,) all have dropped points there this year so its no gimme, follow that with a trip arsenal who are fighting for 4th place and its not being bitter saying they will drop points just comman sense with how they have played away recently and who they are playing

  • Comment number 100.

    when your wrong..........make a joke about City

    When your predictions are wrong...........make an excuse about the oposition City played

    When your worried...........talk about how much money City have spent

    When City win.............moan about the injuries you've had

    Whn united lose..............talk about yuor history



    and repeat.............

 

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