Tevez with another majestic display helps City to three points
By Aaron Leggott
An injury time goal from Carlos Tevez ensured City beat QPR in a result which didn't reflect the domination that the Blues had throughout the 90 minutes.
|A revitalised Carlos Tevez once again delivered another brilliant performance|
Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe
A goal from Yaya Toure in the first half helped City on their way to a seemingly comfortable victory, but a period of sloppiness from the Blues meant Bobby Zamora equalised for Rangers before an immediate reply from Edin Dzeko ensured City weren't going to drop points for the second game in a row.
Despite a late flurry by Roberto Mancini on transfer deadline day, only Scott Sinclair was named in the squad, but had to accept a place on the bench whilst Mancini named 4 changes from the team that grabbed a fortunate point at Anfield last weekend.
Nigel de Jong, sold to AC Milan on Friday, was replaced by Jack Rodwell, whilst James Milner, Kolo Toure and Mario Balotelli made way for David Silva, Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko respectively.
And City started off brightly against the R's, who were also busy during the summer, bringing in 12 new faces to Loftus Road. One of their new buys was Esteban Granero from Real Madrid, and he made an impressive start despite being on the losing side, and he looks to be a shrewd buy from Mark Hughes.
City were keeping the ball well, and it took a goal line clearance from Fabio to prevent the Blues from taking an early lead. A corner from Samir Nasri found Dzeko unmarked but despite beating Rob Green, QPR will be thankful to Fabio for staying on the line.
Rodwell nearly scored a spectacular own goal minutes later, but that was the R's only real chance of the first half, as the away side struggled to deal with City's continuously quality set pieces.
Nasri and Silva were causing the QPR defence all sorts of problems, and they were made to pay in the 16th minute as Silva's whipped corner met the boot of Tevez, whose shot was deflected into the feet of Yaya Toure. Unmarked from 6 yards out, the Ivorian wasn't going to make a mistake, as he smashed the ball into the ground and hit the back of the net.
After taking the lead, City took their foot off the gas and there were a lack of real chances created before half time, and despite Silva forcing Green into a decent save after some neat interplay between himself, Nasri and Tevez, they were unable to double their lead before the break.
This game was rapidly fizzling into a poor encounter, with QPR looking extremely unlikely to break City's defence down, whilst the home side were seemingly content with the scoreline.
And despite Tevez testing Green just after half time with a fierce effort, and Zabaleta later hitting the bar with a curling effort on the edge of the box, City were made to pay for their naivety once again as QPR grabbed an equaliser against the run of play.
In an effort to get a result, QPR started to push more men forward, and the equaliser materialised after some inventive play by Andy Johnson.
Truthfully, it was really all that the former England international really did yesterday, as he used his strength to push Silva off the ball before running at a defence that kept backing off the striker. Johnson took advantage of this as he unleashed an effort on the edge of the area, which deflected off a defenders boot, giving Hart a lot to do in the City goal.
He did his best to prevent the goal, but he unfortunately parried the ball straight into the path of Bobby Zamora who had the easiest of headers from just a couple of yards out.
The game seemed to wake up after that, and City regained the lead almost instantly, thanks to Carlos Tevez, whose persistent nature was ever present once again for the third successive game. Tevez managed to wriggle his way to the byline before crossing into Dzeko, and the Bosnian scored with a deft header.
|Ryan Nelson fails to grab another equaliser for QPR|
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
With numerous tactical changes made by the away side, they nearly grabbed an equaliser from an unlikely source, as Ryan Nelson had two unbelievable chances to level the scoreline.
The first came from a Granero corner, as the ball was knocked down to the unmarked Nelson, whose half volley went horribly wide, before another set piece from Granero flew past everyone and all the New Zealand captain had to do was meet the ball for a tap in but to the despair of the travelling supporters, he couldn't make any contact.
Pushing men forward, QPR were eventually made to pay and with the full time whistle fast approaching, City sat back and allowed QPR to attack, but a quick counter attack led by Tevez resulted in the Argentinian diverting Dzeko's weak effort into the bottom corner of Green's goal, ensuring City grabbed another three points despite seemingly making things difficult for themselves at points in the game.
Defensively, a lot of work needs to be done before trips to the Britannia and the Bernabeau in two weeks time, and hopefully the addition of Javi Garcia, Maicon and Scott Sinclair will give some faces a much needed wake up call. Perhaps playing QPR again was needed, as the players seemed to be suffering from a title winning hangover from earlier in the year.