Following Man City’s disappointing display at the Emirates on Sunday it seems as though their title challenge is all but over. In a must win game they failed to create anything of real substance, Arsenal dominated possession and the game culminated in a sending off for the Bipolar Balotelli.
With such a lack luster display in a huge game I couldn’t help but feel as though Mario Balotelli was used as the post-game scapegoat by the pundits, the media and by Manchester City.
First of all I’m not going to try and go too far into the psyche of Balotelli because pundits attempt to supply their point of view constantly and let’s face it no one has a clue what goes on in his head apart from the man himself but I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for him after the Arsenal game. His tackle on Song merited a red card but the fact is he didn’t get one and his bookings were silly but committed challenges. Overall his performance was committed as it was against Sunderland where he got a great goal to get them back into the game, Man city underperformed as a team then as they did at the Emirates and ultimately his second booking came late in a must win game that they were chasing.
If you have the financial resources that they have and you’re aiming for the title your plan B needs to be nearly as effective as your plan A and that hasn’t been the case at city over the last few months, a perfect example is the injury to Toure at the emirates and there dependency on him was also highlighted when he went to the African nations. Mancini should have been far more prepared for such situations, that’s what the finances are there for and if you couple the rather unbelievable Tevez scenario with Mancini’s post-game comments about Balotelli your beginning to unravel a rather desperate and clueless manager at this moment in time.
Although it’s not yet a certainty, I did believe that Man United would once again lift the title this year but only because Man city would not keep up their early season form in the months that really matter.
I did empathise slightly with Mancini after the game as he came across like a downbeat stepdad who’s sons been caught drawing on the girls faces at playschool for the tenth time but mentioning him not playing for the club again was a rash move. What happens if Mancini does get kept on? It is likely he will be left with another star striker on a monstrous wage that he may well struggle to get rid of and if Man city don’t manage to sell him before next season he simply can’t play him else his judgment and word will once again look ludicrous. Although it’s not yet a certainty, I did believe that Man United would once again lift the title this year but only because Man city would not keep up their early season form in the months that really matter. I predicted an ego collision within the squad and management team and that’s how the media and pundits have perceived it but I think the main crux of the problem lies with many of the underperforming names at Man City and you can include the manager in the list. When you make big money signings you not only have to ensure the quality is there but if your chasing the title you need to know that their going to step up when the time is needed and you don’t let the egos disrupt the team you utilize them in the right way! But as I said I’m not sure the ego problem should bear the brunt of the attention. The likes of Dzeko’, Nasri and Barry who are all still big money signings needed to step up and add something when Silva went off the boil and it rarely happened. Dzeko looks abysmal at the moment and I flat out dislike Gareth Barry and although Nasri bagged an important goal against Chelsea he’s shunned the playmaking responsibility too often this season.
The Man City title challenge this season has been an intriguing one from a Man United perspective and it will be thoroughly satisfying if we do manage to lift the trophy again not only because it’s another league title but because Man city have looked like a different monster all together at points in this season. That’s why they must not use Balotelli as a scapegoat for the Arsenal match or for failing to win the title; yes he’s a bit of a liability and certainly needs a Rorschach test or two but it would be unfair on a young football player who’s still contributed positively at points and also unfair on the strides Man city have made this season.
It’s not over yet but it will be soon, you’ve come close but you didn’t do the business at the business end of the season.
Don’t blame Mario for that though he’s the only City player I like.
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