Tevez offers glimpse of what City missed

Manchester City 4 West Bromwich Albion 0

The Etihad Stadium

They were “Doing the Poznan” at Manchester City last night, dancing with their backs to goal, watching their team streaming forward. Carlos Tevez started and scored. David Silva, a ghost of the player who had propelled City through the first few months of the season, hit a perfect chip on the run for the fourth. By the end, there was hope that the Manchester derby might not be a coronation of the old enemy. The score from Wigan was met by a rolling roar. They are not dead yet.

Roberto Mancini may have seen no reason to change his mind that the chance of the championship had been surrendered at Arsenal but hope still flickered and burned in the eastern quarters of Manchester. The sound when the final score arrived from the DW Stadium was more than just hope, although much will depend on Sunderland, Aston Villa and Everton – teams with dire records against Manchester United – somehow playing above themselves. Much will depend on their own form. If City stumble again, there is no way back. Every move now will have to be perfect.

Sport, like history, enjoys a question that begins "What if?" What if Tevez's response to Mancini, when asked to warm up in Munich, had been 'Yes boss", rather than something altogether earthier. Would the title be a probability rather than a tantalising fantasy?

 

In his first start since that September night in Germany, he scored. Admittedly, he only lasted an hour and the Eastlands crowd, recognising he was out of condition, serenaded him with choruses of: "Carlos Tevez, he eats when he wants." When he came off it was to a standing ovation. His manager was rather more restrained.

Roy Hodgson recognised that when Manchester City are in this driven mood there are few sides that can answer them. "We came here with dreams and hopes of being able to hurt Manchester City," said the West Bromwich manager. "But we didn't have the wherewithal to hurt them."

It was an evening that suggested that if Manchester City were to fail they would do so with the style that never entirely deserted them, not even when third-division football came calling at Maine Road. Mancini still has the support of the crowd and he responded to their chants by applauding them. How the players feel about him must await their return to Argentina, Spain and France and the various interviews they conduct there. The fact that Sergio Aguero's father-in-law, Diego Maradona, expects to see him at Real Madrid next season does not bode well.

When Manchester City paid Atletico Madrid £38m for Aguero, the great question was how he would combine with his fellow Argentine. Nobody could have imagined that until last night he and Tevez would have started one game together, a 3-0 victory over Wigan here in September, which saw Aguero score a hat-trick.

This looked as if it would be almost as straightforward, certainly Aguero revelled in the night. Half a dozen minutes into the match, he took hold of the ball, drove forward and struck his shot into the corner of Ben Foster's net. His second, shortly after the restart, was even simpler, a pass from Samir Nasri that he slid past the Albion keeper.

As a one-time employee of Manchester United, Foster was subject to taunts that he was now "England's number five". His opposite number, Joe Hart, had precisely one save to make in the first half and fewer in the second. David Silva shook off the exhaustion that had clung to him for weeks to chip him on the run.

From the start, Tevez began to discover the flicks and turns that had been such a feature of last season. Midway through the first half he found Micah Richards in the area, the defender rounded Foster but saw his shot blocked on the line by Craig Dawson. His goal was pure simplicity – a pass from Nasri, pulled back by Aguero and converted by the prodigal.

The celebrations from his team-mates were respectful rather than overwhelming. The supporters were rather more effusive. He, like Mario Balotelli may not be very long for Manchester City but it was nice to have him back and to imagine what if.

Man of the match Aguero.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance 46,746.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker