Man United v MAN CITY – PREVIEW: Could This Be Tévez’s Destiny?

Hyperbole is an interesting word. Defined as an extreme exaggeration for emphasis, few could argue that it would be a hyperbole to describe the second leg of this Carling Cup tie, held at Old Trafford, as the biggest match in Manchester City’s recent history. As would befit a Marks and Spencer advert, this is not just a Carling Cup tie, this is a Manchester derby, semi-final second leg Carling Cup tie.

Levels of anticipation, tension and anxiety have never been higher for any match in recent memory, with the close rivalry reaching fever pitch a week ago. After a pulsating yet thoroughly nerve-wracking first leg at the City of Manchester Stadium, the Blues head into this leg with a slender 2-1 lead, courtesy of a brace of goals from former United star Carlos Tévez. The utter joy and euphoria with which he celebrated his strikes confirmed that the Argentine forward is truly committed to the City cause and the fist pumping and mocking hand gestures in the general direction of Gary Neville endeared him further more to the City faithful. Never short of a word or two, the, ahem, good looking full-back had written in a newspaper column that he supported his manager’s decision not to acquire the permanent services of the Argentinean forward; comments which incensed and provoked Tévez into producing his swashbuckling performance.

During the past week, City’s gaffe-prone Chief Executive Garry Cook further heightened the stakes by declaring in a New York saloon that City would be the biggest and best club in the world, whilst Sir Alex Ferguson and Kia Joorabchian have also said their two pennies worth on the matter. Extra police are expected to be on patrol for this match, after the despicable behaviour of the visiting fans to Eastlands last Tuesday, as a small number of ’supporters’ tried to smuggle darts and golf balls, to name but a couple objects, into the ground, with the sole intention of injuring others.

Tévez sent a clear message to United’s hierarchy after scoring his second goal against his former club

Roberto Mancini, having taken charge of just five City games prior to the first leg, has already stamped his mark on the squad. Recalling players such as Martin Petrov and Javier Garrido, who were exiled into the wilderness by Mark Hughes, along with the brave introduction of youngsters like Dedryck Boyata and Abdisalam Ibrahim has been an inspired move, and the astute tactical awareness of the Italian is in stark contrast to former incumbent Hughes. Notably in the first leg, the languid and stylish Mancini reverted from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 formation, with Pablo Zabaleta occupying a plethora of roles during the match. This versatility and ability to adapt to the situation will prove necessary, not just for the Argentine, but for the whole squad, as the away goals rule (which will come into force after extra-time) will have a determining impact on the way we play. Brazilian superstar Robinho may take part in his final City game tomorrow with his loan move to Santos expected to be announced in the coming days.

On the back of the FA Cup victory over Scunthorpe, Mancini’s sixth win in seven games, the manager has a tricky selection dilemma for this derby match. Ivory Coast defender Kolo Touré is expected to return to the side, provided he overcomes fatigue, after his side were unexpectedly beaten by Algeria in the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations, whilst Martin Petrov, outstanding in the win on Sunday and scorer of a few goals since Mancini’s arrival, looks set to be relegated to the substitute’s bench, with the running power, tenacity and general work-rate of Pablo Zabaleta expected to be preferred. Emmanuel Adebayor, who witnessed the tragedy on board the Togo bus, has returned to City after suffering from shock following the despicable attack and will take his place on the bench. After all he has gone through recently, it would signify partial closure of the incident for the striker if he were to score and send City through to the final. Mancini did suffer one setback though in midweek, with the news that new signing Patrick Vieira is still unable to play, as he continues his recuperation from a calf strain.

For all the talk from Sir Alex Ferguson that the Carling Cup was the least of their worries and the trophy at the bottom of their priorities, he fielded his strongest available side in the first leg. Wayne Rooney, usually one who is exempt from Carling Cup duty, was asked to lead the line on his own, although he is sure to receive more help this time around, from either Mame Biram Diouf, Dimitar Berbatov or Michael Owen, whilst Ryan Giggs captained the side. However, for this leg, United’s manager is faced with a tricky selection dilemma. A visit to the Emirates to face an Arsenal side brimming with confidence despite their FA Cup defeat at the hands of Stoke lies just a few days after this encounter, so Ferguson may be tempted to rest a couple of his senior players. Whatever team he picks is sure to cause City problems and there will be no let up in intensity from the hosts.

Ladies man Rooney scored four at the weekend and will be the principal threat to City’s defence

My Team (4-5-1) (but 4-3-3 when going forward)



Onuoha                 Touré                         Kompany                  Barry


SWP             Zabaleta                   De Jong             Ireland                 Bellamy




Subs: Taylor, Richards, Sylvinho, Petrov, Robinho, Benjani, Adebayor

My Prediction: Man United 21 Man City

The pessimist (but hopefull not realist) in me prevails in this prediction. City will no doubt battle bravely against an Alamo-esque siege from United, and will manage to take the tie into extra-time, during which, I hate to say it, United will prove too strong and score another to send them through. Goals to be scored by Craig Bellamy, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, with drama sure to surround Carlos Tévez, as he misses a 90th minute penalty to put City in the final!


What do you think will happen on Wednesday? Give your opinions below. Thanks for reading!

27 Responses to “Man United v MAN CITY – PREVIEW: Could This Be Tévez’s Destiny?”

  1. Browny Says:

    Could you have found two uglier pictures of Tévez, i know he isn’t known for his rugged good looks but still, I am sure you could have found a better one of him.

    Also, I think Rooney will be the difference in this game, a truly world class player. Arguably the best player of the first leg solely for his 15 minutes at the end of the game where he pretty much tore apart the City defence single-handedly (with the exception of Given, who once again, was immense).
    On the form he is on, I wouldn’t be surprised if he scored a couple or a hat-trick, but he needs some support. I would like to see Owen start with him, I think that whenever he plays he always looks like he will cause more problems than Berbatov (could there be a more miserable footballer??)

    So there we go, I reckon United will win it, possibly in extra time (I can definitely see city scoring), the difference being a world class player, what City would do for one of them.

  2. Browny Says:

    Having re-read my comment, that was a little harsh. You do have tévez, who undoubtedly is very good, and bellamy who is having the best season of his life.

    Given has always been top quality, but has always been made to look so amazing this season due to the fact City’s defence are poor, most of them thinking about what they will spend their ridiculous weekly salary on than whether to risk stopping a goal threat.

    But how a city fan would swap all three of these players for a rooney, a torres or a drogba. None of these, though, will ever come, due to the fact they are at big clubs, and would not take a step down at this moment in time. I have no doubt that City will eventually become a top four side, (probably replacing Liverpool unless something drastic happens there), but now they are not: face it.

  3. Alec Says:

    A thoroughly readable article Steven. I feared the abstract opening was a harbinger to a bizarre piece, but no, it complemented the chatty style of the main body of the article very well.

    All eyes certainly will be on Tevez. I heard a rumour that he picked up an injury in training though; any truth in that?

    A couple more pictures would be good, but that one of Rooney is brilliant. I like how you get the mention of Stoke it too.

    Will we be seeing any more articles from you soon?

  4. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Thanks Alec, I won’t be able to post any more articles for the foreseable future so make do with this! Thought you’d appreciate the mention of Stoke and I do take on board the need for more pictures. I will bear it in mind for future posts. Not heard anything about a Tévez injury. I seriously hope not!!

  5. Ricky Says:

    In agreement with VJ, the opening was in stark contrast to what i would have expected – much too deep for 11 o clock reading.

    Tevez, as in the 1st leg will, most certainly, be the centre of all attention – with city fans idolising him and united fans throwing various items of their possession at him. I do hope he isn’t injured, I honestly believe that our final hopes rest on his performance.

  6. ed hernandez Says:

    some times u got to let old plants die so new plats grow & manchester city have the potential & the players to make it happen APACHE TEVEZ!!!!!

  7. johan Says:

    city will go thru..they will stiffle united attack and hit them on the counter. adebayor and tevez to score. owen will put one back in the injury time. 4-2 to city

  8. Plattsy Says:

    I was in a vile mood before reading this article steven, with my M1 exam looming (less than 2 hours.. eek!), but I can honestly say that this has lifted my mood. The opening 5 words seized my attention in a vice like grip. Where is he going with this seemingly irrelevant comment? My attention was held throughout the duration of the article. Bravo, sir, bravo.
    Gems such as ’swashbuckling performance’ and ‘who were exiled into the wilderness’ had me squirming with delight, and the Rooney picture really is something to behold… I know I’ve said this before, but this is a real contender for my favourite Sven article.
    The typo in your last para (hopefull) is a shame, but the english is exemplary other than this… I would consider using ‘hyperbolic’ instead of ‘a hyperbole’ in your second sentence, although I comprehend fully your reasons for using the latter.
    Wish me luck for M1, and COME ON THE BLUES!

  9. Matt Jones Says:

    “courtesy of a brace of goals from former United star Carlos Tévez”

    >>> I would prefer to get rid of ‘of goals’…I think that is taken for granted here…


    >>> Oh, I do like this

    “brave introduction of youngsters like Dedryck Boyata and Abdisalam Ibrahim”

    >>> Show’s very strong management. I think Boyota is risky and hopefully we may have Toure back, but must say, Ibrahim played very, very well in the first half against Scunthorpe, then I think he must have taken a knock…

    “as the away goals rule (which will come into force after extra-time)”

    >>> Please can someone explain the rule to me

    “whilst Martin Petrov, outstanding in the win on Sunday”

    >>> Hmmm….not so sure about this!!! He was not outstanding at all…infact far from it!

    “with the running power, tenacity and general work-rate of Pablo Zabaleta expected to be preferred.”

    >>> I do indeed hope so!

    “Whatever team he picks is sure to cause City problems and there will be no let up in intensity from the hosts.”

    >>> Totally agree

    “But how a city fan would swap all three of these players for a rooney, a torres or a drogba.”

    >>> This is absolute rubbish Dan? Swap Tevez, Bellamy and Given for Rooney…absolutely not?!

    I’m going to go for 2-1

    Rooney, Berbatov and Ireland

  10. Matt Jones Says:

    With the match going to penalties and United winning…

  11. Matt Jones Says:

    No wait…i’m going for 2-1 City

    Tevez, Bellamy and Rooney :):)\

    Got to be positive!!

  12. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Plattsy, some of your comments had me squirming with delight! A totally delectable comment, and one which will uplift my spirits no end whenever I read it. Although I am slightly concerned that my blogging could have a telling role in your performance during M1. Now stop procrastinating and work! Good luck

    Matt, disagree with you about Petrov. He was our best player by a margin larger than Simon Cowell’s bank account. Loads of energy and willingness, he was instrumental in leading us to victory.

    Just to clarify the away goals rule:

    The first leg shall be played as normal, with away goals not counting. The second leg shall be played as normal with away goals also not counting. However, if the scores are still level on aggregate after 90 minutes of the second leg, extra time shall be played. After extra time, if the scores are still level, the side who has scored the most away goals will go through. If this is all still level, penalties will follow.

    For example, if it is 1-1 in the first leg and 2-2 at Old Trafford in the second, extra time will be played. If there are no goals in extra time, then City will go through, by virtue of having scored two away goals as opposed to United’s 1.

    That is all according to the BBC, and assuming that I have understood it correctly (which is always doubtful). Entendeís?

  13. Matt Jones Says:

    Petrov is awful!!! Wouldnt bothe me one bit if he left…if im being perfectly honest I would like Jamie O’Hara ahead of Petrov…

    Right I understand now…

    Am I the only on who’s gone for a City win?!? Shocked and appauled!

    Vinnie is going to lead us to victory…but mark my words, there will be a sending off tonight!

    I’ll take some photos for you and let you have a look at them…im terrified!!!

  14. Ricky Says:


    >>>> Is there a revision session tomorrow (Thursday 28th)? If there is, what time is it?

  15. Matt Jones Says:

    Ricky only just looked on here…yes there was one today, early in the morning…soryr I couldnt tell you? 4 points fo me…how about everyone else?

    Steven, atmosphere as intense yesterday, but good fun…few things were thrown but not much? I’ve been picked to play 2nds this weekend, i’m absolutely gutted because I’ve got to go to a Leeds Economics Day thing to meet all the teachers e.t.c. and I dont think I will be able to play I’ve scored 2 in 2 for seconds too compared with Chris Clarkes 1 in 9!!!

  16. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    You’ll have to tell me about it on Monday. Atmosphere sounded great, although my parents (sat in the United end) said it was the worst language they’d heard ever at a football match. The only adjective in the world was f***ing’!

  17. Matt Jones Says:

    Yes, I can back them up with what they said! Thought Boyata played very well, along with Vinnie

    My ratings;

    Given – 8
    Vinnie – 8
    Boyata – 8.5
    Richards – 7
    Garrido – 7.5
    Zabaleta – 6.5
    De Jong – 6.5
    Barry – 7.5
    Ireland – 6
    SWP – 6.5
    Adebayor – 6.5
    Tevez – 6.5

  18. Matt Jones Says:

    Oh and Bellamy – 8.5

  19. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    I agree with your ratings more than usual, but think that Garrido has transformed into Ched Evans for a moment. He was utterly hopeless – he made Nani look good. We looked so much more secure with Pablo at right-back. Garrido is nowhere near good enough for where we want to be. Talking of Zabaleta, thought he was outstanding – covered every blade of grass, got his tackles in and looked strong. Deserved an 8.5 in my opinion.

    As for Boyata, I totally agree. People criticised him, yet I thought he was superb. And people seem to forget that this was only his fourth game, two of which have been against United. Before Mancini came in, nobody had heard of him, but he’s done very well indeed, and I would hope that he would keep Touré out of the side, with LEscott to play at left-back.

    Tévez could have probably been higher as well – got limited service, and scored a very good goal.

  20. Matt Jones Says:

    Garrido did well…better than Bridge by far…he supported Bellamy very well? His only mistake was their first goal…it came from our corner which was a poor cross from that he never really let Nani past him??

    Zaba was poor in midfield….infact our midfield was poor…they completely dominated us? Hence why the scored…Zaba didnt close down Scholes for the first goal and on the reply you can clearly see de Jong shouting at him and telling him to mark Scholes…however when he moved to “left-back” not right back as you mention he did play well and credit to him…but it was harsh to bring off Javier…

    Boyata – I was sceptical when I saw the line up but he did a good enough job and looked calm…when he didnt cock up he rectified it easily…

    Tevez…nope, wasnt his best game? Agreed about the alck of service but his goal was flukey! When Adebayor came on the game changed and we scored thanks to Ade getting it wide…but again having said that, Ade should have done much better with his chance?

    Economics tomorrow….absolutely dreading it…I keep having blanks but I know this stuff off by heart, its getting me down

  21. Ricky Says:

    Chin up Matt, you’ll ace it.

    I’m going in early to basah out a few diagrams in my form room then fill a few whiteboards with my economic knowledge. Fancy joining me?

  22. Matt Jones Says:

    I’ll join you at some stage yes, but im going to have a lie in? I’ll be in at like 10.45am ish?

    Saw Miss Jones on Monday for the session which was only me! Before I left she said “Matt, seriously, you cant let your nervces get the better of you or you will cock it up and thats the least you deserve. You have worked so hard, no matter what happens you know that, I know that and Steve knows that so just do your best. You must have more self-confidence otherwise it’ll all fall apart.”

    She was right…i’ve just had a HUGE blank…cannot remember anything at the moment and its stressing me out

  23. Ricky Says:

    Without sounding condescending, that is the one thing that you do too much.

    Confidence = good grade

  24. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    If, deep down, you know all the information you need to know, do something else tonight apart from Economics. Writ a blog, watch TV, just do something which will take your mind iff work.

  25. Matt Jones Says:

    Scores on the doors? Dan didnt get a correct score did he> Thought he went for 3-2 United?

    For the Pompey game im going for 3-1 City please…goals to be scored by O’Hara, Adebayor, Tevez and Bellamy

  26. Matt Jones Says:

    Steven…have you done those questions for Byrne….the ones which start off with ?Como son los zapatos del coronel?

    I’m really confused by them all??

  27. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Gutted – Dan changed about 2 hours before the game to 3-1. We all got 4, and he got 11.

    Total Scores:
    Steven – 88
    Ricky – 85
    Dan – 81
    Plattsy – 77
    Matt – 75

    Not done the questions yet – been concentrating on perfecting my answers for the first load of questions – they’re much more general and much more likely to be asked. I may have a brief look at the new questions, but certainly not answer in a lot of detail.

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