Tevez To Return vs Chelsea – Why The Sudden Turnaround From Mancini?
With Manchester City outcast Carlos Tevez pencilled in for a first team come back against Chelsea, we look at the pro’s and con’s of bringing the Argentine back
According to the BBC website, Carlos Tevez is targeting the upcoming visit of Chelsea for his return to the Manchester City first team. The Argentinian forward has featured in two reserve team outings in recent weeks and is preparing for his first action proper since his controversial refusal to play in the Champions League last September against Bayern Munich.
This is a remarkable turnaround for the club and their manager Roberto Mancini. In the immediate aftermath of the incident the Daily Mail reported the Italian coach stating “I have helped him for the last two years and I can’t accept this from him. For me, he’s finished. I cannot go on with him. If I decide these things then he’s finished.”
So what has changed at Manchester City? The first thing is their league position. Having held the top spot since October, their loss at Swansea this past weekend saw them overturned by Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have hit their stride in recent weeks and this period of the season is traditionally when the Red Devils shine.
However as far back as early February Mancini was no longer ruling out a possible return for his wayward star, “Carlos is not an option at the moment but it is possible in the future if he comes back.” (Source: The Guardian). Speaking of Tevez’s exile he said “”I hope for him he has been training in the last three months to help his condition. There is only one thing on my mind, the Barclays Premier League. But if he comes back – and he is fit – it is possible.”
These comments came after a January in which City were eliminated from both domestic cups, and humbled by resurgent Sunderland and Everton sides. The clamour for a return of the former City captain died down when the team won all their games in February. However recent poor form in Europe, coupled with the setback at the Liberty Stadium, has seen the Tevez apologists pipe up once more.
So what is there to be gained from the prodigal son returning? The talismanic status he enjoyed last season has seemingly been shattered by his perceived disloyalty. The City fans who roared their approval of the striker as he led the team to an FA Cup in the previous campaign, will surely at the very least be replaced by murmurs of discontent, if not vociferous booing.
But what of those keeping the Etihad turf warm in Tevez’s absence? The mercurial Mario Balotelli is prone to cutting a hang dog figure if his magician’s hat of flicks and tricks fail to come off, and his commitment to the cause is still in question. Edin Dzeko has surprisingly netted four more goals than the heralded Balotelli in all competitions this season, but his proneness to anonymous displays and his ungainly style of play have limited his opportunities in Manchester.
This leaves City’s top scorer for the season, and the man many view as fellow Argentinian Tevez’s ideal replacement. Sergio Aguero has enjoyed a fruitful first season in the English game, netting 21 times across all competitions. His workrate, bustling style and eye for goal prove that their nationality is not the only common ground between the men.
This could be used as a reason why Carlos Tevez is surplus to requirements at City and should be made to sit out the remainder of the season before his inevitable summer transfer abroad. But City have struggled at times when Aguero hasn’t been firing this season, so having a ready-made replacement could be beneficial. Tevez would be able to walk into the side with no tactical reshaping needed and essentially fulfil the same job as Aguero if the latter’s form were to drop.
There are of course drawbacks to Carlos Tevez reviving his Manchester City career. For a start it undermines the authority of the manager. Mancini originally banished Tevez while the incident was still fresh and emotions were running high, but it could still send a message of weakness to the rest of the squad. In a dressing room of big egos and world class players, Mancini cannot afford to lose control and his perceived concession to Tevez may provoke future disciplinary problems.
There is also the issue of what Tevez can bring on the field. When he is at his best he is among the Premier League’s finest imports. He has scored 43 goals in 65 games at the club and would be an asset for the title run-in. But he has also only played twice since last September, a pair of reserve team displays. While Tevez scored in one of these appearances, the fairly tame standard of football at that level pales in comparison to the cut and thrust of the Premier League.
This poses the most pertinent question. Is Carlos Tevez fit enough and sharp enough to get into the Manchester City side on merit? It is to be assumed that he can’t be far away if a coach with the experience of Roberto Mancini is talking of possibly playing him. But being impressive in training is no guarantee of success on the pitch. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out, but one thing is for sure. The seemingly endless Carlos Tevez and Man City circus rolls on.
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