The Real Tevez Stepped Forward Tonight
Manchester United advanced to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with a 5-3 victory over Blackburn. The game was thrilling and fantastic but the enduring image will always be Carlos Tevez scoring the final, clinching goal.
The Argentinian has been subject to criticism on these pages as I felt he did not really warrant that first-team place that many felt he should get. However, he made amends tonight with a world-class display of forward play.
Only 54,000 saw it and Old Trafford was quite quiet (like Anfield was on Monday) but the chants of 'Argentina' could be heard more often than any other games this season. Because though Gibson delivered again, Anderson finally had a great game, Nani scored, it was always about Tevez who was streets ahead of everyone.
His first goal was lucky - it might even be recorded as an own goal - but his assist to Nani was excellent, then won a penalty at the start of the first-half which he duly dispatched. And then came the fourth United goal which was sheer magic: the excellent Giggs started it with a backheel then outrageous one-touch passing between Anderson and Tevez brought an open goal for Tevez - courtesy of Anderson who could have scored his first but instead squared the ball to the Argentinian - and he did not miss. Brilliant goal, brilliant footballers.
Blackburn almost came back into it out of nothing as they scored two thanks to our defenders falling asleep - Neville, Evans and substitute Evra were all guilty - but it would have been a huge injustice if they got anything out of the game as they were outclassed. And Tevez confirmed it: Anderson's great long ball found him on the edge of the box, he let it bounce once then smashed a stunner into the far corner. Game over.
Tevez finally delivered, Anderson looking like regaining his form of a year ago - things looking good. Unlike for Roy Keane who has to face a United side that's stuttering away but irresistible at Old Trafford - and the Bearded One's got to bring his team here. Same starting line-up as the one that triumphed at Eastlands would do fine for me, with Tevez coming on for Park. Time to unleash the 'Fantastic Four' (stupid hyperbole, all right) and there's no better opponent for it than Sunderland who conceded four goals at home to Bolton last week. To Bolton, for crying out loud.
In the meantime: Argentina! Argentina!