Carlos Tevez’ chance for Manchester City redemption could haunt Manchester United

The Munich spat that separated Carlos Tevez and his club for the majority of this season seems a long time ago, but nearly six months to the day of that infamous altercation, the striker is set for a place on Manchester City’s bench as they entertain Chelsea in their must-win Premier League clash.

Many thought that that slightly ambiguous altercation had enough potential to rip a hole in the Sky Blue’s season but as we enter the business end of the domestic campaign, the Argentine’s impending return from exile (see BBC Sport) could not have come at a better time. Potential buyers for the diminutive forward came and went in the January transfer window, and throughout those winter months, Tevez’ situation at the Eithad Stadium only grew in desolation. Meanwhile, and through an equal measure of panache and grit, his employers generally occupied top spot as his stock continued to fall with every game he missed.

Time is known to be a healer however, and the most unlikely of reconciliations between manager and player has emerged to seemingly offer the former club captain a chance to apologise to his club’s supporters in the most emphatic way. Tevez will be eased back over the next three or four games but having a player of his stature and character return at such a pivotal time must surely be likened to a spring marquee signing.

The main protaganists in this season’s Premier League title race were foreseen by many, but few would have predicted the major twists in narrative that have occurred along the way. Historically renowned for finishing a season strongly, Manchester United have now begun to hit their stride; a stride representing nine games unbeaten, 24 goals, just seven conceded and – on paper at least – an easier run-in. Conversely, Mancini’s troops have begun to show signs of pressure in their charge for an inaugural Premier League crown. Couple a potential defeat against the rejuvenated Chelsea, with another tricky trip to the Emirates in early April, and City could find themselves playing for local pride when they meet their neighbours at the end of that month. Essentially, if ever City could do with a dynamic injection, it is now. Reverse the above scenario – wins against both Chelsea and Arsenal – and the heavyweight clash between the top two, which is expected to decide this season-long Manchester dual, could be ‘back-on’.

Following the Chelsea clash, this Manchester derby that grows in hyperbole by the day, is seven games away for Mancini and he would hope to have a relatively fit Tevez available. It would certainly add spice to a game that Ferguson himself already sees as the perfect stage for atonement following his side’s humiliation at Old Trafford in late October. City supporters who felt insulted by Tevez’ petulance in Munich may be hard to fully-appease, but there is no better place to start than for him to come back to haunt the team who previously disregarded him with such flippancy.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man City v Chelsea

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