Tevez the ace in the hole?
- 24 April 2012 08:41
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Will the return of Carlos Tevez prove the key to City's first title since 1968? Henry Winter is not alone in flagging up "City's most famous overseas golfer" for his potential medal play.
He writes that City "have been helped back into this compelling chase for the Premier League trophy by the reckless decision-making of Balotelli. The naughty step has proved nice to City.
"Even if Mancini was leaning towards starting City’s most famous overseas golfer, Balotelli’s absence sped up the process. Mancini brought Tévez back in from the cold, so warming the heart of Sergio Agüero.
"Their loss to Arsenal appeared to have destroyed any hope of them becoming champions. They thought it was all over. United were dancing down Coronation Street. And then? Ciao Mario, hola Carlos. Since then, City have amassed 12 goals and nine points in three games."
The Telegraph man has no doubt how City should line up for the derby: "Now Mancini has a decision to make. He needs to keep the mood positive ... relying on the quicksilver movement of Tévez and Agüero to exploit the occasional paralysis in United’s defence.
The all-Argentine axis works so well, a partnership of quick-thinking minds and strong techniques
He also reckons that "Mancini has played the kidology game beautifully. Occasionally emotional, the Italian elected to stay calm, not seizing on potential grievances. He took all the tension out of his dressing room. The race was over. We tried hard. Well done United."
Over at the Mail, Ian Ladyman also cites the Tevez comeback as one of five reasons why, the headline says, "City could still walk away with the crown in a Premier League title race of endless twists and turns".
The others? Freedom from the pressure of expectation, too much "intense" football for United, the Reds have been "getting away with it" (their headline) and, as Tony Pulis says, it's a proper league "where anyone can beat anybody else" (see Wigan and Everton).
There is good news for Mario Balotelli. The Independent reports that "Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has said the City striker will be an integral part of his team for Euro 2012".
They quote him: "I never really thought of doing this without Balotelli, as he is a focal point of the national. I like those who stand up and accept responsibility for their actions."
Meanwhile, our old pals at Transfertavern.com nominate the best five academies around and include City along with West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester United and the often-overlooked Crewe Alexandra.