Has Balotelli cost City European silverware this term?

by Marc Sibbons

Friday, March 18th, 2011
 

Man City’s exit from the Europa League at the hands of Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night has certainly been a wake up call for Mancini and his superstars. Coming into the second leg on the back of a 2-0 defeat in Ukraine, City desperately needed their key players to perform at the best if they were to overturn the deficit. This was not the case. Although they bossed the match in terms of possession and chances, they could only muster a 1-0 victory, losing out to Kiev on aggregate.

Leading the star studded line up was Mario Balotelli and the hugely influential Carlos Tevez. After a good start, Balotelli missed two guilt edged chances, scooping over from 3 yards while mis-directing a header from 12 yards. Signs that this was not going to be City’s day.

Things got much worse when the fiery Italian was shown a straight red before half time for a cynical challenge on an opposition defender. Alarm bells were ringing, and only made City’s challenge even harder. However, after only 3mins Aleksander Kolarov gave them hope when he fired in from 20 yards.

Going into half time with a one nil lead, City desperately needed to attack and play the football we all know they can do. All without Balotelli. Mancini must have been experiencing mixed emotions; glad that his team have restored hope, but furious that his temperamental striker couldn’t control his anger once again. City huffed and puffed but couldn’t get that next goal which would have turned the tie on its head, and out of the competition they went.

Much has been made of Mario Balotelli since his big money transfer last summer, and the huge expectations placed on the 20 year old’s shoulders. Dubbed as a ‘wonderkid’ during his days at Inter Milan, his fiery nature has been known to fans in Italy in particular. Former Inter manager Jose Mourinho was not a fan of the Italian during his tenure because of Balotelli’s apparent lack of self discipline, which he considers to be very important to a young player’s development.

So far, Balotelli’s time in England has seen many high’s and lows surrounding his development in the Premiership. 10 goals in a total of 18 appearances is an impressive statistic and he does have a range of attributes that should turn him into a top player, but a more worrying statistic is eating away at his much maligned reputation. Fifteen starts for Balotelli this season has resulted in him being sent off twice, and receiving 8 yellow cards. Clear evidence that he is still showing naivety off the ball which is ultimately hindering his development as a leading player in not only the Man City squad, but the Premiership.

Whilst you cannot blame their failure to overcome Kiev in Manchester solely on the Balotelli, he certainly let the fans, his team-mates and his manager down once again. How Roberto Mancini handles Balotelli’s off the ball/pitch troubles will of course be handled behind closed doors, but turning him into a world class player his potential seems to show is more off a challenge for Mancini and Man City.

 

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  • Jem

    The bloke is a first class wxxker. Everytime he plays we play with ten men (an thats when he’s on the pitch). He can’t pass, doesn’t run, generally just mopes about the pitch sulking. GET RID OF THIS ARSEHOLE WHILE WE CAN STILL GET OUR MONEY BACK.

  • stan

    I agree with Jem. Total waste of space and money.

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