When discussing the merits and demerits of Carlos Tevez, it is easy to forget the fact that Manchester City are his fourth club in as many years. Players often talk about the need for time to settle in new surroundings and gain a better understanding with new teammates when a big money move is completed.
Having gone from the Brazilian side Corinthians to West Ham, Manchester United and now City in the Premier League, Tevez could argue he has not had much chance of that, staying barely long enough at each club to call it home. Feeling unwanted at Old Trafford despite being offered a new contract, he was then unfit at Eastlands in his early days with City after a heel injury ruined his summer arrival. As he tried to find fitness and form he initially failed to make an impact, only scoring twice [in the same game against West Ham] in his first 12 Premier League games.
But four goals in three stirring performances have upheld the belief from City and the Argentine's teammates that he will go on to be a major asset. City's Brazilian defender Syl- vinho said Tevez has the same kind of match-winning impact as Lionel Messi, with whom the left back played at Barcelona for six years. "When you have a talent like him, Robinho, [Emmanuel] Adebayor or a [Shaun] Wright-Phillips, these players can make a difference," said Sylvinho.
"When you are talking about Messi, Barcelona miss Messi when he's not playing. You miss these kind of players. It makes a lot of difference to our team. I think Carlos is one of the best in this league and is really doing well, scoring goals and helping the team." Mark Hughes, the City manager, is convinced there is more to come from Tevez, just like there is collectively from the rest of the side as they prepare for a tough trip to Tottenham tonight. The defence needs to work as a unit and the absence of Nigel de Jong in the midfield holding role was obvious at Bolton in Saturday's 3-3 draw.
It is doubtful he will have recovered from swine flu to face Spurs, but Hughes is hoping the others will compensate for the absence of the Dutchman and the suspended Craig Bellamy, who was sent off at Bolton when City came back three times to earn a point. "We have shown we are not prepared to go under and have to keep showing those qualities if we are to have a sustained challenge," Hughes added. "This is a key game for us. We want to beat the teams in and around us and will be going to Tottenham with great confidence."
Arsene Wenger, who takes his Arsenal side to Burnley tonight, has said Spurs and City should not be discounted in the title race. Both have quality in their personnel, but inconsistency has left them frustrated and 10 and 11 points, respectively, behind leaders Chelsea, who host bottom club Portsmouth. City have drawn eight of nine league games while Spurs have already lost three at home.
Michael Dawson, the Tottenham central defender, said: "We have world class players and of course you want to win the league, but we have to be realistic. If we finish in the top four we'll have had a good season." He will have the task of trying to tame Tevez and will look to make amends after Kevin Doyle got ahead of him to score the Wolves winner on Saturday. "Every individual has his job to do, but we defend as a team and we all take responsibility when we concede goals. It certainly hurts me when we do," he Dawson.
Liverpool could overtake City or Spurs with victory at Anfield against Wigan. Rafa Benitez is desperately in need of some home comfort after Sunday's disappointing 2-1 reversal at Anfield to Arsenal. Meanwhile, it has been reported that members of the ruling family of Ras al Khaimah are seeking talks with Liverpool's co- owners - the Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks- to discuss possible investments, newswire Zawya Dow Jones reported, citing an unnamed senior official in the emirate.
firstname.lastname@example.org Tottenham v Manchester City, KO midnight, Showsports 1 & 2