Sunday, 22 January 2012

Why always me? Here's why Mario, we just don't know what to make of your particular talents

"The boy should have been off. Balotelli has kicked Scott Parker in the head . He's back-heeled him in the head. He does it a lot, I've seen it. What does Scottie think? He thinks he kicked him in the head. I don't know why you would do that on a football pitch. Have a look at it on your machines. It's there for everybody to see."
With those words from Harry Redknapp, Mario Balotelli's place right at the forefront of our footballing headlines were assured.
By then, the experts in the Premier League's international studio had already assured us that the Ghanian-born Italian's graceless stomping on the prone Parker were deliberate.
Andy Townsend insisted "the FA should take another look at that" while Alan Curbishley had "no doubts about it". The first stagger, where a foot cracked Parker as Balotelli came down from an attempted shot, looked like an accident. But the second, a wicked stab of the heel, looked pretty damning.
But of course, the reason Balotelli stays at the forefront of our minds is that he doesn't stop at petulance and nastiness. He also throws in a dose of good football. And in this case, that meant going down in injury time for the vital Manchester City winner.
And then getting up to stick the penalty past Brad Friedel, the oldest and best in the Premier League, though you wouldn't think so if he passed you in the street dressed in a suit.
While the travelling Spurs fans and Redknapp vented their fury at the injustice of it all, they might have considered the greatest unfairness of all. That Jermain Defoe is only 5ft 6ins high. I've stood next to him. Knee high to the proverbial Zurich Grasshopper.
When Gareth Bale, scorer of an excellent leveller to make it 2-2 after nine frantic second half minutes featuring four goals, crossed the ball shortly before the Balotelli penalty, Defoe looked nailed on to score.
But his little legs just weren't long enough, the toe cap put the ball wide and City went up the other end to finish the challenge of the cheeky North Londonders forever.
Harry, after adding a few more choice Balotelli comments (unless I'm mistaken, he accused him of serial stomping), said: ''We had a great chance when Gareth laid it across to Jermain, we were all up on our seats thinking it was 3-2. It proves we're as good as anyone, they weren't better than us today but they nicked it in the 94th minute.
''We had a bad two or three minutes and conceded the two goals but we showed great character to come back and I could see us winning from there.'
Harry might consider the fate of Ledley King after this. Spurs had never lost with their perpectually injured centreback in the team. He barely trains due to an ongoing battle of the wounded knees. But he looked knackered for that last-gasp City foray into Tottenham's box. The foul on Balotelli was a nailed on penalty. The King is due for usurping with the pipe and slippers.
With Arsenal being completely outplayed by chasing Manchester United, it was another bad day for North London against the Mancunians. Back in August, when Arsenal lost 8-2 to United and Spurs were done 5-1 by City, it amounted to 13-3 in favour of the northerners.
It won't be as bad this time - Arsenal went down 2-1 despite yet another Robin van Persie goal - but the result is the same. Capital punishment. This title will be decided in Manchester.
For Arsenal, with two wins in seven games, the more worrying aspect of their defeat against United came with the crowd's response to the subsitution of the excellent young Southampton signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. With the out-of-sorts Andrei Arshavin coming on and a bumbling Theo Walcott looking embarrassed not to be replaced, the boos rang around the Emirates.
A few minutes later Danny Wellbeck won the game with Arshavin - featuring prominently on the box - failing to make a tackle.
Can Arsene Wenger survive another long-term assault from the critics?

1 comment:

  1. Balotelli charged by FA today, City accept charge, out for four matches including Liverpool, which is a great shame. Lescott gets nothing for forearm smash on the day Harry Redknapp is accused of taking illicit payments to Monaco in the name of his dog Rosie47. Curious times we live in. Free Mario!