It was hard not to chuckle at Carlos Alberto Tevez’s hands-behind-the-ears celebration following his second goal in Manchester City’s 2-1 Carling Cup semi final victory over Manchester United last night. The last time the Argentinean had produced a similar celebration was at Old Trafford in a seemingly pointed gesture towards the Man Utd Boardroom and their apparent reluctance to pay a transfer fee of over £25 million for his services.
Tevez was on fire last night, as were most of his team mates, in a memorable win in front of their home fans. Man City will long remember the night as a sweet victory over their neighbours and especially as it appears Gary Neville is likely to face an FA charge for his one-finger salute towards Tevez following his match-winning goal.
City possesses a plethora of attacking options but they don’t have a player of Wayne Rooney’s class and consistency. Yet.
Rooney was awesome and only a deserved goal failed to cap a terrific individual performance which on any other night would have yielded a man of the match award. Tevez’s brace will rightly grab the headlines but England’s star striker is in the form of his life and could well top the goal-scoring charts before the end of the season.
A note of caution though to Roberto Mancini and the Eastland faithful; United could and should have had a hatful of goals. Only some last-ditch defending, Shay Given brilliance and wayward shooting prevented the current Premier League champions from recording at least a draw in the opening leg of the League Cup semi-final.
United remain firmly in the title chase along with Chelsea and Arsenal. Man City has invested heavily and quickly in an attempt to finish in the top four. The deterioration of Liverpool as well as Spurs and Aston Villa’s inconsistencies means City are likely to attain their goal and secure a Champions League spot for next season.
Mancini has overcome most of the obstacles put in front of him (bar Everton) since taking the helm but there are still glaring issues within his multi-million pound squad. Left back remains an issue, City’s oft-lauded midfield was overrun by a more determined United trio last night and Mancini needs a 30+ goal a season striker (granted Adebayor may yet fill that void) to partner Tevez.
City remains a work in progress and whilst a Carling Cup victory over United is sweet, the blue half of Manchester has a long way to go before upstaging their more illustrious rivals. Expect United to bounce back at Old Trafford next week and run the London challengers right to the end of the campaign.
Ger McCarthy is the author of Off Centre Circle, which chronicles the curious life of a West Cork League junior footballer.