Gray Areas: The Prodigal Carlos Returns

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Thanks for warming up Carlos, good job.

As I write, City are now just two points behind Manchester United at the top of the Premier League, with United about to kick off against a dreadful Villa side. The Reds should see them off, restating themselves as huge favourites for their fifth title in six years after a wobble against Wigan over Easter. By the end of this article, things will become much clearer. Perhaps I should wait…

Actually no, I’m going to trust my convictions that United will cruise past Villa [They did. Ed.], and move onto Man City’s “comeback”, which would appear to have been catalysed by the return of one Carlos Tevez. Now, having spent some 6 months improving his golf game in Argentina, while Mario Balotelli did his best to completely ruin City’s title bid by getting sent off at every opportunity, Tevez is in the City starting line-up and scoring freely.

Incidentally, United are 1 up after 10 minutes. Horrible “dive”, but this is game is over already.

So Tevez, the same Tevez whom Mancini said would never play for the club again, has fought his way back into the team. I say fought. He fought his way back in the same way that Brad Jones won his place in the Liverpool side – Dzeko and Balotelli have both spent most of 2012 finding the very best way to annoy Roberto Mancini and Aguero has picked up a stupid foot injury. Now, it’s like he’s never been away, and City will finish a strong second.

The question is, was Mancini right to send him away, and was he right to bring him back?

The ins and outs of that night at the Allianz when Tevez allegedly refused to come off the bench when City were 2-0 down have been talked to death, but the point is that Mancini was undermined in the worst possible way, and he took the strongest measures available to him.

Robbie Savage on 5 Live, with whom I rarely agree, and to whom I even more rarely pay attention, reckoned Mancini had handled the whole saga rather well, something which on the whole the press have been unwilling to say – it doesn’t sell papers to be nice about people.

I am tempted to agree with Savage. Mancini ran out of strikers, he had enforced his disciplinarian measures, and Tevez had served his time. The timing all seemed right. Heck, who are we to guess what communication there was between player and manager? Whatever has been said, it seems to have worked. Yes, it looks desperate, but what did Mancini have to lose? Nothing, and Tevez’s performances have justified his return.

It says a lot about Mancini’s ability as a man-manager, and Tevez’s as a player, that the striker has returned from what seemed an impossible situation, and with such success.

Of course, it’s going to make absolutely no difference to the title race, since Sir Alex has dragged a poor United side through the season, but if they can hang on to him over the summer, and replace Dzeko, then Man City might actually be able to win the league…assuming United don’t buy a central midfielder, or give Paul Scholes more of that Peter Pan powder.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The timing wasn’t particularly good, IMO. Against Arsenal where City desperately needed a good striker, Mancini had a shortage of strikers to play the out of form and frankly disappointing Dzeko, and that is probably the match where City lost the league.

    If Tevez had inspired City to a win there, then the plaudits would have been deserved but his renaissance of sorts is too late. His playing time now is a cynical move to justify the extortionate price tag City are sure to put on him when they try and sell, come the summertime.

  2. I disagree that Mancini handled the situation well at all. You can either admire him for sticking to his principles and not playing Tevez again, or for working to resolve the problems he had with probably his most potent goalscorer. He did neither. Instead Mancini has weakened his position by welcoming back a player who he (foolishly) said would ‘never’ play for the club again, but failed to do so in time for Tevez to make a significant impact in City’s title challenge.

    They dropped 14 points from 6 away matches in the league from December through to Tevez’s return in March, time in which his contribution could have secured crucial victories. If Mancini was a competent man-manager, he would have secured the return of his prize asset when it really mattered.

  3. If Mancini leaves Tevez out till the end of the season, surely he is guaranteed to leave in the summer?

    By doing it like this, does his timing not reinforce both his principles AND the fact that he still values Tevez as a player? (His form also inflates his value if City still decide to sell him over the summer.)

  4. I don’t see how it reinforces his principles. In fact, bringing Tevez back at all undermines them in my view, which might be an acceptable cost if it meant them winning the league, but that’s unlikely to be the case.

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