Dancing Tevez quicksteps City to top

Manchester City 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3: Two-goal striker 'waltzes through with magic feet' but Wolves' fighting spirit nearly spoils the party

Manchester City clambered to the top of the table but this was an ascent without oxygen: thrilling, breathless and fraught with risk. When the scoreboard, sky blue against the black of the night, showed them above Manchester United, the cheer rolled around Eastlands, laced with comments that at 4-1 up City should never have come close to surrendering two points.

This was not the "Boring Boring City" who had roused the Emirates to fury at the start of the month by going to Arsenal with no ambition higher than a goalless draw, but a Manchester City who are truer to the club's history.

There will be a part of Carlos Tevez that will always yearn to be back at Boca Juniors receiving ovations from the Bombonera, but by choosing to remain at Manchester City he is the recipient of a similar unbounded love. Just as his one-time idol, Diego Maradona, was more at home inspiring the dispossessed of Napoli than he was at Barcelona, so Tevez's natural habitat is a club like City, fighting for their own place in the sun. The standing ovation he received when he was brought off was heartfelt, the performance that inspired it had mingled effort with brilliance.

A 2-1 defeat at Molineux in October had triggered a week of fevered speculation that Roberto Mancini's time at Manchester City might be drawing to a close. The mood at Eastlands is calmer now, but for the first 20 minutes Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had beaten Chelsea and whose victory at Liverpool had begun the chain of events that had brought Roy Hodgson's regime to its knees, were palpably the better side.

Their opening goal, stabbed home by Nenad Milijas, may have been messy but their set-plays had been inventive and Kolo Touré's equaliser,which was half-saved by Wayne Hennessy and ricocheted into the net from the back of David Jones's boots, was slightly undeserved. Had Aleksandar Kolarov not hurled himself in front of Matthew Jarvis's shot, Wolves might have been two up.

What followed was Manchester City at their most irresistible, the team who had torn Fulham to pieces at Craven Cottage. Tevez's first goal was arguably the finest he has scored since the blue "Welcome to Manchester" poster in Deansgate so infuriatedSir Alex Ferguson and carried echoes of Ricky Villa's score against Manchester City in the 1981 FA Cup final.

Tevez's goal was delivered at a quicker pace. There were three gold shirts who might have made a tacklebut he twisted past Stephen Hunt and rolled the ball past Richard Stearman before shooting home.

His second, a header that thundered down from beneath the bar, was more conventional but, in between, he had helped to set up Manchester City's third, finding Edin Dzeko, whose debut was encouraging given thefact that the Bundesliga's winter break meant he had not played for nearly a month. The Bosnian delayed his pass beautifullyand Yaya, running through, became the second Touré to find the net.

The Wolves manager,Mick McCarthy, who had been a central defender when Manchester City were a very different club, acknowledged he would have struggled to lay a boot on Tevez. "We have lost because there was a little Argentinian who waltzed through with magic feet," he said. "But I have to say that most teams in our situation, 4-1 down, would have laid down and had their arses slapped. But there were a few squeaky bums in the stadium when they held up five minutes of stoppage time."

Indeed there were. Mancini had removed Kolo Touré as a precaution with Tuesday's FA Cup tie against Leicester in mind and Joleon Lescott, facing the club where he made his name, looked dreadfully out of sorts.

The push on Kevin Doyle that gave Wolves a penalty and a route back into the game was summed up in one word by his manager – "stupid". Then Ronald Zubar, who had already struck the crossbar with one header, struck again, and although Nigel de Jong cleared it, the ball had crossed the line and Manchester City had the familiar feeling of a wall boring into their backs.

Attendance: 46,672

Referee: Lee Mason

Man of the match: Tevez

Match rating: 8/10

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall