Manchester City might have stolen the points against Manchester United for a memorable victory, but it was the performance of star striker Carlos Tevez that was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of it all.
Playing as the lone striker for City—with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko on the bench—Tevez struggled greatly to find any real attacking opportunities on the night, with defensive trio Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones shutting down the former United striker with relative ease.
Sure, he had his moments, but without any assistance from behind, Tevez was left somewhat stranded at the top of the attack and was unable to assert any real dominance on the Red Devils defense.
What's more was the fact that substitute Sergio Aguero—who would normally start alongside Tevez—came on and netted the game-winning goal.
He did without Tevez and without anybody else, leaving many to wonder whether or not City would have been better off starting with Aguero than Tevez.
We'll never know for sure, but the success that Aguero had compared to Tevez in the limited time that he was on the pitch would seem to suggest yes.
Part of that is down to formation—with City utilizing a 4-2-3-1 formation for just the 12th time this season—but part of the onus must fall on to Tevez.
He is not a go-to striker at the top of the attack like Aguero or Edin Dzeko and simply cannot fulfill that role as effectively as those two.
Which, in the midst of transfer rumors about his potential exit and the summer transfer window rapidly approaching, begs the question: Is Tevez really needed at City anymore?
After all, they do have the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure in behind to play the creative midfielder role that Tevez sometimes likes to play. As we've discussed, they do have the attacking talent on hand to cope just fine when Tevez does not feature in their starting side.
Tevez is by no means safe at Manchester City at the moment.
The striker has already refused to sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium, and unless he signs over this summer, he'll find himself entering the final year of his contract next season. City isn't going to let him leave for free over the 2014 summer transfer window and know how hard it is to make a good deal over the winter transfer window as well.
Thus, this year's summer transfer window could be a big time for Tevez.
Mancini has reportedly been told by City owners that he will need to sell first before he can buy in the summer transfer window. Which, given the players they've been linked with already (Stevan Jovetic, Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani), could well spell the end for some of their big-name players who are on big money but aren't producing results.
Which, if we're looking at Aguero, Dzeko or Tevez, isn't a hard choice at all.
Does Carlos Tevez have a long-term future at City?
That's not to suggest for a moment that Tevez will automatically go this summer and that his place at the Etihad Stadium has already been filled. The striker is a real talent at his best and has shown throughout his time at City to be an invaluable attacking asset.
However, with Tevez struggling here and others already showing that they can fill that role, it is an interesting proposition for City to deal with this summer—especially if they're going to try and bring in some new talent up front to challenge United once again.
Tevez's place at City isn't guaranteed in the slightest.
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