Monday, 30 January 2012

Deadline day tomorrow...and shock news

Sky Sports News leading on a team not planning any major transfers does seem a none story.  Thing is that team is Manchester City.  Roberto Mancini when interviewed today has confirmed he doesn't expect any incoming players to the squad at the Etihad Stadium.

The last few January windows have usually marked some big money signings like Edin Dzeko or Nigel De Jong.  In fact since Shiekh Mansour arrived, usually it tended to mean at least 3 signings as City strengthened the squad as they pushed for European qualification. It's widely accepted City do have a very strong if not the strongest squad in the league so why is it such a shock to Sky?

It could well be simply because City do have the money they are expected to buy for the sake of buying and whilst freshening up a squad it sometimes can take away some momentum as the new players bed into the team and for that reason with City proudly top of the Premier League Roberto Mancini has decided to leave any deals till the summer when that bedding in can be done over the pre season, as buying for buying sake can be dangerous as a look at City's past will tell you.  Rodney Marsh is rumoured to blame his own arrival for costing City  the title when he arrived in the March the club were 4 points clear at the top of the old Division One, his different style of play he felt made a difference  as City were pipped to the title by Derby.

One thing it does do is give the vote of confidence that Mancini believes his current squad is good enough in the final push towards Premier League glory. 

Certainly once the African Cup Of Nations finishes City will get back Ivorians Yaya and Kolo Toure to give options in midfield and defence and that could also be part of the reasons behind Mancini's thinking. Certainly Yaya had been in great form and Kolo was showing his class with every passing game it will be like getting two new signings. The whole thing is a none story really but because it involves Manchester City it becomes something bigger.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mario..Mad, marvellous or both?

Another week another headline involving City's gifted Italian striker Mario Balotelli.  This time he managed to make the news twice in one game firstly with ice cool nerve as he slotted home a penalty to win the game for Manchester City V Tottenham.  Then as I made my way to Piccadilly there was news on twitter of an incident which from where I was sat looked innocent enough involving Scott Parker.

Indeed it wasn't till I got home and saw the highlights that it appeared Mario swung his boot back and kicks a prone Parker in the head.  I've swung from "what an idiot" to "Surely he was off balance"  but I have to admit the more I watch it the more I'm convinced Luca Modric played a part by pushing Mario.  This is something the press simply haven't picked up on and a fact I will return to later.

Balotelli certainly does attract headlines be it "a brother's friend" setting off fireworks from a bathroom window on the eve of the Derby at Old Trafford.  Through to giving a tramp a substantial amount of money.  On the pitch we've seen the brilliant from his hat trick V Villa last season to the stupid kick out which got him rightly sent off against Dynamo Kiev.  We've even seen him celebrating goals more especially his goal V Everton.   

Problem is there have been issue early on in his City career he scored two delightful goals to win the game at West Brom only to then get himself sent off.  Then of course there is the famous grass allergy which flared up whilst playing away in Europe.  Yet when the club really needed him he has been a star turn in both the FA Cup Semi and Final he was at his best to help City win their first major honour in 35 years.

It's become a bit of a media circus with Gary Linekar on Match Of The Day admitting he loves watching him.  Added to this the numerous rumours of going round Manchester hi fiving City fans, to putting up a group of homeless people in a luxury hotel. I've seen players sent off for various reasons but feel Mario got sent off against Liverpool at Anfield purely on the basis of his reputation rather than anything he'd actually done on the pitch.

That's where I return to the Modric push now bear in mind Modric saw the kick at Parker he walks away and doesn't make a big deal when Howard Webb stops play to allow Parker to get attention.  This could mean he knew he had caused it.  Some might argue the kick was aimed at Modric, that thought has crossed my mind.  I honestly don't think there was any intention to hurt Parker I'm fairly certain Mario didn't even know where Parker had landed.  Problem is whatever the reason the kick was done by Mario Balotelli and for that reason alone he must have meant it and Sky held what I can only describe as a witch hunt mentioning it on every opening segment for hours.  It was confirmed the FA are charging Balotelli for violent conduct and because this would be his second ban after the Anfield red card he faces a four game ban

And that's despite former referee Dermott Gallagher earlier looking at the incident and saying he didn't think there was a case to answer.  Interestingly he did say he felt Joleon Lescott did have a case to answer, yet like so many other incidents involving England squad regulars the FA haven't charged him.  Personally I think Lescott is very lucky in fighting terms it was a clear forearm smash to Kaboul.  But there again he isn't "Mad Mario"

And therein lies the problem as long as Balotelli plays in England the press are going to show interest, be it him winning games or doing something silly either on the pitch or in his spare time.  Every detail is dragged up and examined in a way no 21 year old should have to put up with.  It carrying on could cause Balotelli to decide to call time on his career in this Country and for the entertainment Linekar mentioned that would be a crying shame.

I must admit I fully cannot decide if he meant it or not but do feel Modric played a huge part.  That said we are guessing if he meant it or not and that is what makes me flip flop between he meant it to he didn't.  One thing that is obvious Mario is slightly mad but can be marvellous.  But given the press it might be he has to go for the sake of his promising career.