Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday May 12 2011
It's the news no Stoke City fan would wish to hear. Carlos TÚvez has defied the odds to go up a gear in training and stake a claim to an FA Cup Final start...
Increasingly, Roberto Mancini's decision over who leads the City line on Saturday is beginning to look like one that could very well decide the outcome of the eagerly anticipated contest.
I don't think any Champions League-ster Blue would dispute the suggestion that Mancio and El Apache don't have a brew together that often or share a pint over darts with Mario Balotelli, but in harness, their shared desire to win can be devastating for the opposition.
The Boxing Day that Mancio came to town with the Manchester snow deep and crisp and even, it was TÚvez who terrorised Stoke's big defenders throughout to seal a 2-0 win.
It's that kind of savvy and experience that has this correspondent holding out for Mancio reigning in his evident pride and headstrong approach where player relations are concerned in order that the most potent attacking weapon on his books starts against The Potters.
Yet Mancini, despite being reknowned for 'his my way or the highway' policy may well be seeking to fire his Argentian international up into a fiery rage as part of a cunning plan.
TÚvez was going mental on the touchline to get out there against Spurs this week and it's that kind of driven hunger that could realise a first City trophy win in over three decades.
I suggest that if Mancio fields the battled hardened TÚvez from the off and City lose, then the City gaffer would come in for less mither than had he gone with the youth of Mario Balotelli or Edin Dzeko who could yet both play substitute impact roles.
There is of course another side to the coin. The enigmatic Balotelli put in a terrific shift in the semi-final defeat of the rags and Edin Dzeko held the ball up superbly against Spurs this week.
Many Blues, myself included, have yet to forgive TÚvez for that foolish agent fuelled transfer request last year and there is an air of certainty surrounding rumours that himself and his adviser will seal their next lucrative two yearly move this summer.
Justified question marks also persist over the City captaincy. Ambassadorial Vincent Kompany has represented the club impeccably since he was give the armband, yet shouldn't TÚvez regain the honour in recognition of the goals he has scored to fuel Cty's resurgence? Vinny has already stated that he would have no issue with that.
Our spies up trees and telegrah poles at Carrington report that TÚvez, confirmed as clear of his hamstring injury by City's medical team has been going berserk in training...Decisions, decisions!
YOU are the Mancio: TÚvez to start at Wembley?
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Date:Thursday May 12 2011
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