The champions, for the second consecutive home match, failed to put away a much weaker team. QPR caused the Manchester City defense the same problems Southampton and Liverpool did, but an awakened Carlos Tevez in the second half, with one assist to Edin Dzeko and the 90th minute goal himself ended any chance of an unlikely upset.
Tevez was done with City, done with Mancini, done with football last year. Something changed in 2012, and eventually he returned, Mancini caved and Tevez played a part (not a big one) in the club’s first Premier League title. A summer gone, one controversial (at least one) T-Shirt later, Tevez is once again, just like in previous years, the most important player for the team on the pitch.
Three matches into the season, Tevez has three goals and one assist in three matches. He also scored in the community shield, but it’s his presence and energy on the pitch that’s making him such a vital part of Mancini’s machine once again. No one from the Friday shopping spree was in the squad for the Saturday match, but that didn’t really stop City from claiming an early lead through Yaya Toure.
Then started the problems. The game draws to a halt. David Silva hasn’t really been himself early this season, and with Toure playing a more defensive role alongside Jack Rodwell, there’s a lack of push to them once they get the goal they want. On/Off switch, which so far has been working, showing just how good, talented and deep this team really is, but these switches don’t work all the time, and it’s dangerous to rely on them.
The moment Zamora scored the equalizer, City turned it back on. Tevez created the goal for Edin Dzeko, who quietly, this time as a starter, got to score his third goal of the season, all of them for the lead or for the tie. Despite all the transfer rumors surrounding him this summer, Dzeko remains City’s best target man type striker, with the numbers to back him up.
Again City took their feet of the pedal and almost suffered for it. Despite having a very good defense and keeper, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet so far. Jack Rodwell has still not completely embraced the fact that he’s the defensive midfielder in the duo, although I’m not too sure he’ll be getting plenty of starts once the new signings settle in. He hasn’t shown much to give any indication he deserves it.
Tevez finished the game with a 90th minute goal, giving City 7 goals in their first three matches. Offense isn’t a problem. Motivation and ups and downs during the match are a bigger concern. It seems that if the team follows Tevez’ enthusiasm throughout the 90 minutes every match, there’s not a team in this league that can even come close. The problem is getting this group to follow for more than just a short stretch here and there, even if it’s been enough so far.