MAN CITY v BARNSLEY – Tevez driving City’s Cup campaign

Never mind what he does behind the wheel of his Bentley Continental or his Porsche Cayenne, Carlos Tevez has moved slickly through the gears in recent times with three goals in his last three Manchester City appearances.

His solicitor says he doesn’t understand the word ‘constabulary’ – hence his inability to respond to police speeding notifications – but all City fans will hope he doesn’t have to mess around with his vowels and trade goal for gaol in the wake of his latest motoring ‘misunderstanding’.

One can only hope that Tevez won’t be diverted from his purpose of delivering silverware to the Etihad by any court intervention, ironically at a time when his City stock in on the rise once again.

The indefatigable Argentine was demonized following his misdemeanors in Munich in 2011 when he refused to come off the bench in the Champions League. It’d be a strange kind of karma if a bench of the magistrates persuasion cast fresh scorn on his City career.

A knee injury to Sergio Aguero and the departure of Mario Balotelli back to Italy has suddenly promoted Tevez to a place where he loves to be – the focus of any team in which he plays and the darling of the terraces.

The stage is set for the man dragged from the tough backstreets of Fort Apache in Buenos Airies, to once again see his star ascending in the hearts and minds of the sky blue side of Manchester.

His goals could see Roberto Mancini’s side through to their second FA Cup semi final in three seasons and the real prospect of a third major trophy in three-and-half years of the Italian’s reign.

It’s City second installment of cup-tie War of the Roses, having cut Leeds down to size in the last round. The Premier League Champions should be able to prune the Cup aspirations of the Tykes from t’Barnsley, but any hint of complacency could be City’s undoing.

Barnsley’s new manager David Flitcroft has breathed new life and impetus into the South Yorkshire side’s battle for Championship survival and, on their day, the men from Oakwell are capable of stoical resistance and a sucker punch.

The younger brother of former City midfielder, Gary, David has inspired Barnsley on a run of just two defeats in 11 games. His two young sons will be Barnsley mascots, whereas Gary’s sons will be City mascots and will play in the match that provides half-time entertainment to a sold out Etihad.

The match presents Mancini with some selection headaches as City’s injury list lengthens. No Kompany, Aguero, Rodwell, Richards or Maicon for today and the skipper, even at this early stage, a major doubt for the encounter with the nemesis of Everton next week.

Better news comes with the prospect of Edin Dzeko making his 100th City appearance and adding to his tally as the club’s top scorer this season. With all the indications being that the big Bosnian is Bundesliga bound this summer, a second FA Cup winner’s medal would be a suitable parting memento.

It’d be a disservice to Barnsley to assume they’ll come and park t’charabanc. Their gutsy showings of recent times could even see them take the game to City in an audacious attempt to wrong foot the favourites.

Top scorer Chris Dagnall is the dangerman but if Nastasic and the re-born Kolo Toure are on their game, it should be another clean sheet in the competition for Costel Pantilimon who has yet to concede.

Irrespective of the Yorkshiremen’s blueprint to prevent the blue moon rising, City would be well advised to adopt a quicker, crisper tempo than that on display at Villa Park on Monday night.

Just why the team seems afflicted with such a malaise is both infuriating as it is puzzling. Time and time again we’ve witnessed a City side playing at pace and with purpose destroy the opposition. So why adopt a stance akin to a sloth on valium?

Deploy Yaya upfield with a licence to terrorise. Sit Garcia in front of City’s admirable backline, always but always select Milner over Nasri and invite the Spanish Magician to orchestrate proceedings.

It’s a frustration why Nasri continues to underwhelm. He has the skill but not the application. He seems to lack courage and any real fight – characteristics deemed not acceptable to the Sky Blue faithful. City fans will always forgive a ‘trier’ – not so a prima donna.

With the malicious moronic manipulative men of the media finally resigning themselves to the fact that Roberto Mancini will be running the show at ManchesterCity next season, what better riposte than another trophy in the Etihad cabinet?

With a 47,000 plus capacity crowd all ‘Up for t’Cup’ come tea time today let’s hope there’ll be no reversing out of this famous old competition – Carlos take note!


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