Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The importance of Tévez

Not just symbolically in Manchester derbies, as we will see tonight, but every time City go out onto the pitch. There have been two interesting pieces on Tévez in the last day or so which are worth looking at.

First from the great Jonathan Wilson, explaining Tévez's 'false 9' role within our system:
Tevez, though, makes it work, as he almost defines the role of the false nine. His movement prevents the team breaking up, providing a link with the midfield, and as he drops deep, so he can interact with Touré or Barry. That is not natural to Adebayor – very much a real nine – and the difference in their approach is seen here. Adebayor did drop deep and pull wide, but far less than Tevez, and against Wolves he attempted only just over half the number of passes Tevez did against West Brom...

The theory is simple: the back four defends with only occasional forays from the full-backs; the three midfielders dominate possession, and if they can't, they sit deep to provide an extra layer of defensive cover; and a fluid front three tries to turn the possession into chances and goals. Tevez, though, adds something extra, linking the two parts of the team, and making the whole more fluent. He scores goals, but more important is that he lubricates the whole mechanism.
And then the great Uwe Rösler, City fan, talking about the man who in some sense replaced him:
"City often appear to lack enthusiasm when Tevez isn't in the side... He lifts his team-mates and also the crowd through his style of play. In my time at City, Paul Walsh was similar: very busy, never giving up, chasing everything and always looking to create chances.

"In the game at Wolves in October [when Tevez was injured], City got an early goal and then played as if they thought the job was done. They invited Wolves back into the game and ended up losing. With Tevez in the team you have a guy who is up for it all the time and he carries the rest of the players with him."
There's also some interesting stats in that piece, the most striking being that we have won 91.6% of games in which Tévez has scored.

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