Monday, January 14, 2008

Tevez the key to United Success.

Manchester United used a 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle United to carry them to the top of the Premier League table on Saturday. With a dour first half, Sir Alex’s men turned on the style and dropped 6 goals on a hapless Newcastle that failed to find any type of response. Yes, there were some horrid calls in the first half, namely the Giggs penalty that was never given and the off-sides call that canceled out the possible Michael Owen goal. Despite these officiating gaffs, United was able to put on a wonderful performance that displayed the essential parts of the side that looks to be staying atop the table.

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up his first United hat trick with three second half goals, increasing his season tally to 22 goals. He was a terror on the wings for the entire match. Despite his heroics and highlight reel goals, I would argue that the player who was most responsible for United’s victory wasn’t Ronaldo, but Carlos Tevez.

Tevez showed true grit and a bottomless amount of energy and hustle that few other United players exhibited on the pitch for an entire match Saturday. His prowess as a striker was evident when he was in the perfect position to get on the end of a Ryan Giggs pass that made the score line 2-0. Despite picking up a brace, Tevez’ best attributes on the day was that he continually tracked back into defense, snuffing out several Newcastle build ups. Whenever Patrice Evra move up into the attack, Tevez was there in the midfield providing cover for Evra’s side to ensure that Newcastle couldn’t exploit the absence on that side.

The addition of Carlos Tevez and his style of play has opened up the United offense in ways that a striker like Louis Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy never really could. Tevez’ play has been able to open up better and more scoring chances for Ronaldo, Rooney and the rest or United’s potent attack. I would argue that Ronaldo’s success this season might be a direct result of Tevez being in the line up. Having that trio on the pitch brings such a problem for opposing players and coaches to attempt to solve, one that they are failing to do.

Having Tevez in the line up allows United to compensate for matches when despite doing damn near everything right, Rooney fails to get on the score sheet, just as he did Saturday. When other clubs have their main striker fail to find the score sheet, they usually fail to get the full three points and a draw is usually their best bet. With Manchester United, with Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo, Rooney can have an off night and still see United pick up the three points. Before Tevez joined the club, if Rooney wasn’t on target, there had been matches where the result was in doubt. The Red Devils have a very different look to themselves with Tevez on the pitch, on that looks more confident and secure.

The summer transfer window saw Sir Alex bring in Nani, Andersen, Hargreaves and Tevez. All four have made huge contributions to the club, but Tevez seems to be the one player who is staking his claim to best new player for the club.



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