Carlos Tevez was made Manchester City captain in an attempt to have him lead the club to the Premier League title by the sheer weight of his goals. It didn’t work as well as you’d expect, and now City are relying on Tevez once again to ‘freshen’ the squad and help it across the finishing line after recent stumbles have seen United overtake them in the league. In a matter of weeks United are now favourites with any major sportsbook to lift the title and City are desperate enough to bring Tevez back.
In fact, Carlos Tevez is now right back where he supposedly ended his City career – on the bench, waiting to be brought on by Mancini for the last 25-30 minutes. If only he could say ‘No’ again this time – in the Premier League, at their home stadium no less, and then smile like he’s been planning it all along – which of course he won’t, because he wants to get paid.
But while Tevez provides an amusing sideshow, the real question is whether both Manchester City and Chelsea and overcome the loss of their key central defenders (Terry being out injured for Chelsea, Lescott and possibly Kompany out for City) and get the three points they need to get closer to their season objectives.
City have won all their home league games this season, and it’s 19 wins in a row since the end of February last year. Victory for Manchester City would see them set a Premier League record of 20 consecutive home wins. They would also become only the fourth team in top-flight history to achieve that feat following Liverpool (21) in 1972, Newcastle (20) in 1906-07 and Preston (20) in 1891-92.
Roberto Mancini believes that they can win their remaining games this season – and win the Premier League title. To do that City will have to negotiate some tough away games but first they must get three points against Chelsea – anything else and Manchester United could theoretically afford to lose to City and still win the title.
Chelsea have won 10 of their 14 Premier League visits to Manchester City – only Arsenal have won as many – but have lost their last two. The Londoners have won the previous two Premier League games between the two – both at Stamford Bridge – and are looking to complete a Premier League double against Robert Mancini’s men for the ninth time.
However, Chelsea have failed to win any of their last four away in the league – losing the last two without scoring.
Chelsea’s four wins in four has had players and fans purring – but it’s difficult to see what has changed except for players getting their way and as a result, trying harder. John Terry – Chelsea’s manager-in-waiting – will be watching from the sidelines and with Chelsea three points behind Arsenal and four behind Tottenham (and still to play both teams) – he’ll know that he’s of better use to the club if he’s fit for those games instead of risking himself here and being unavailable for the rest of the season.
Soccerlens Prediction: A 2-2 draw, with Lampard scoring his 150th league goal and Tevez scoring after coming off the bench.