Well would you look at what’s happened! Since I last appeared amid this scruff of rollover ads concerning tits and betting odds, City have, temporarily at least, turned into a swashbuckling gang of good-time boys scoring for fun.
We sit merrily – and yay, verily – atop the good ship Premier League, and the oceans are calm for now.
All right, stop being a twat, Caveney. I’m genuinely emotional and amazed. I was close to tears when I watched MOTD on Sunday, having already watched the derby on Sky with my next-door neighbours and nearly thrown hot tea up their living-room wall. I agree, it means nothing more in the greater scheme of things than three points and a mountain still to conquer. But mountains are easier to conquer when you’re sitting smugly at the summit already.
And then Wolves. Who scores three goals in three minutes against the run of play? Against a Wolves team who actually played really well. I bet they’re looking forward to their trip to Manchester. Even a year ago, I’d expect them to come to Eastlands – sorry, the Etihad Stadium – and take revenge. Now I just don’t see it.
I have to admit I’m astonished with how Roberto Mancini and the club have dealt with Tevez. It could have been a horrible debacle, and upset our run of form, but it seems to have done precisely the opposite.
And that, for me, is highly telling of Carlos’ not-so-positive influence on the squad before Bayern Munich. Until this episode, I was always prepared to overlook Tevez’ ambivalence to the club and his privileged existence, mainly because he seemed to still make the difference, and yes, he always seemed to shake it all off and put in 100% on the pitch. But the clear change in the squad’s collective attitude and mutual understanding of its own might and potential, for me has literally blossomed since Tevez has taken a forced back seat and the club has made it clear internally and externally that he doesn’t amount to as much as everyone assumed.
Squad players who may have been in slight awe of, or deference to, Tevez have stepped up in his absence and shone brightly – and shown clearly why they were so coveted in the first place. Dzeko, Balotelli, Milner, for starters, have all been excellent. Nasri has slotted in like he’s been at City a lot longer, and the fringe players are looking on and thinking, ‘Wow, I want to be part of this.’
Anyway, back to the script… despite his talents (yes, I believe he still is one of the modern game’s most awesome players on his day), Tevez is no good to us. Whether he sues Mancini, or still gets paid for not doing anything – I really couldn’t care less. He’s mad, bad and it’s over. He has blown his own scene, whether he refused to play or not. And I think most of us are pretty sure he refused to play, right?
You only have to look at the faces of his teammates in the dugout at Bayern. He’s gobbing off to Zabaleta about something or other, and the look on Zab’s face just reads ‘you’re mental, Carlos, and you’re making me uneasy. Stop talking’. I agree with Zabaleta’s facial expression, and Kolarov’s – I think Tevez isn’t very bright, thinks far too highly of himself and his importance to the club, and has had a problem with Mancini for a long while. A problem that Mancini has dealt with impeccably, despite whatever the PFA, Korabollockchin or Mark Hughes have to say on the matter.
At the beginning of the season I thought Tevez would stay another season, and I wanted him to. I thought he could be instrumental in getting us into another Champions League season next term. Oh, how wrong I was, and how glad I was to be.
Whether City achieve any silverware this season is irrelevant, and it’s way too early to get cocky or expectant. But it’s already a great season for me. We’ve shown the football world how to deal with troublesome, fat and insane players with powerful agents and simply get on with life without them. Easier for us, considering our financial clout, but hey.