To quote the film Carlito’s Way “Okay, I’m reloaded”.
If you didn’t know Carlos (‘Carlito’) Tevez was back, then Saturday’s hat-trick against Norwich was indeed a reload and it erased any doubts about any rustiness after his long absence. It would’ve left fans of Manchester City confused as whether to celebrate wholeheartedly, or still continue to be outraged at him for his actions.
Tevez’ random refusal to come on for Manchester City at Bayern Munich back in September, has been one of the biggest talking points of the 2011/12 season. Many people would kill to be a footballer. In the economic climate Britain finds itself in, many people would go to even more extreme measures to be at a team that pays as well as the Arab outfit from the blue side of Manchester. So whether you feel hard done by, as you weren’t picked in the starting line up, refusing to play when asked is not acceptable by any means. Everyone in life has to work when they don’t want to at some stage, when you are paid as much as footballers are and you refuse to play it looks ten times as worse.
If refusing to play wasn’t bad enough, after being rightfully disciplined by his club Carlito then went Absent Without Leave back to his country of birth. Rather then hide, he extraordinarily managed to do further damage to his reputation by allowing himself to be seen trying to improve his handicap on the golf course. Actions that I’m sure would’ve left a number of City fans wanting to leave him handicapped.
Until the seasons end we won’t know the full extent of how detrimental Tevez’ absence from the City squad has been. Since his return though, we can start to piece together that he would’ve definitely made a difference to City this season. In his much anticipated return against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, he made an immediate contribution, supplying the assist for the winning goal scored by Samir Nasri.
Regardless of his foolish antics, Tevez is a quality footballer, though he lacked integrity, respect and consideration when not coming on against Bayern. He gives his all when actually on the pitch. He never stops running, he always tries to help the team and though he gets a good amount of goals he is rarely extremely selfish on the pitch. His actions were disgraceful in Germany, he let his pride take over him. He probably thought to himself that he should be starting. This would have come from the fact that to an extend City may not have been in the Champions League in the first place without his contribution. Still though that doesn’t make things right. The fans won’t forget what he did. It is only on the pitch where he can start to appease them and since returning he is doing that well.
What he brings to City’s late Premiership charge to overhaul Manchester United is great stamina, guile and industry. Looking at City’s front players Sergio Aguero has been brilliant in his first season in England and is arguably City’s best finisher. He drops off to link play with the midfield and moves across the line very well just like Tevez. Tevez though would give that little bit more strength and energy that may have been decisive in away games inparticular. City have been outstanding in their own backyard, but on the road they have won 4 less games than leaders United.
The bizarre character that is Mario Balotelli is a great player in his own right, pacey, strong and has relentless composure; Tevez though brings more to the table. Edin Dzeko is another good finisher, great in the air and can hold the ball up well. Tevez has better mobility and allows City to play a faster game than him though. Starting games or coming off the bench he would have offered City some variation up front and that extra body when there’s injuries or someone needs to be rested. When Tevez & Aguero are on the pitch at the same time we see how well they link up, further frustrating anyone associated with City at Tevez not being around for six months.
When conversating with a group of friends about Saturdays game, one of them singled out the third goal against Norwich on as exactly what defines Carlito. Already 4-1 ahead, Norwich’s Ryan Bennett played a weak back pass to keeper John Ruddy, Tevez alert as always to things ran through to seize upon the error and round the keeper to net his hat-trick. Others though wanting the goal to get the hat-trick, may not have been as vigilant or had the enthusiasm to track the ball down, you get the idea that none of City’s other strikers may have had the same idea at that exact moment.
Chasing apparent lost causes is something that a City squad maybe at times needed this season, as good as they are, when times have got tough sometimes there hasn’t always been that individual present to rally the troops, he could have been the one to lead by example and show everyone how much harder they have to work. Sometimes it looked more like individual play than team play.
Tevez has the experience of winning the League with United, his wisdom could’ve helped the team. Vincent Kompany is a great player and leader but Tevez operates further up the pitch, therefore Kompany wouldn’t be trying to run a ball down close to the oppositions box for example.
Regardless of Tevez’ impact City boss Roberto Mancini may look to move him on at the end of the season, as ‘Carlito’s Way’ of doing things undermined the club. While he is there though he has so much to offer as City try to capture their first top division title since 1968. I feel City may have left it too late to topple United. With Tevez present I think they would have accumulated enough points through the season to go on and win the league. Who knows, with him they may have had a longer run in the Champions League also. If Tevez had apologised early on, then what would’ve happened we will never actually know. Amidst a saga of ‘if’s & ‘buts’, one thing is for certain, till the end of the season any appearance he makes, like a golf club he will be coming out swinging.
To quote the film again, ‘here comes the pain’.