Tuesday 16 January 2018

Presence of rebel Tevez can spur City on to title

Mark Ogden

Manchester City 3 Blackburn Rovers 0

CARLOS TEVEZ was not in the team, on the substitutes' bench or even inside the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City edged three points closer to a first league championship since 1968 with a routine victory against Blackburn, yet the Argentinian's presence was clearly felt.

Tevez, the returning rebel who has been welcomed back into the fold at City having apologised for his conduct since ending his unauthorised three-month sojourn in Buenos Aires, might never play for Roberto Mancini's first team again.

His attempts to return to full fitness with extra sessions on the training pitch may ultimately prove futile if Mancini chooses to omit his former captain for the final 12 league games of this season.

But the mere fact that Tevez is back in the dressing-room and around the club ensures that Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli now have a proven Premier League goalscorer, and double title-winner, to worry about if their output in front of goal begins to diminish during the coming weeks.

Since Tevez's public apology last week for his destructive behaviour this season, City have scored seven times in two games, with Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli all contributing at least one goal.

If the pattern continues and the goal glut extends, City and Mancini will be the big winners and Tevez might just have to accept an unwitting role as a non-playing catalyst.

There is clearly no rush on Mancini's part to add a temperamental ingredient to a recipe which, at the moment, does not require extra spice.

Blackburn, who somehow won 3-2 at Old Trafford two months ago, were totally devoid of ambition and quality. If they avoid relegation, they will be one of the worst teams in Premier League history to do so.

It was all too easy for City once Balotelli opened the scoring the half-hour. The goal obliterated Blackburn's tactic of playing for a point, and second-half strikes from Aguero and Dzeko made sure City's winning margin reflected their dominance against opponents whose first effort on target came two minutes into stoppage-time. (Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport