During the Arsenal v Manchester City game yesterday two players’ careers at their clubs were almost ended.
Alex Song, who miraculously avoid breaking his led after Balotelli’s foul, and Balotelli himself, who should have been sent of for that foul early in the first half and was then eventually sent off in injury time, prompting Mancini to say that he doubts Balotelli will play for City again.
Balotelli’s knee high foul on Alex Song (shown below) was a straight red – even if you argue that he goes in for the ball, it’s dangerous play and he catches Song just below the knee. If Song had planted his foot firmly into the ground (think previous leg injuries from dangerous tackles to Arsenal players) instead of being able to move his leg with the impact of the tackle, this would have been the end of the season for him.
As for Mario – well, Mancini reportedly told Italian TV that City will sell Balotelli, and came close to admitting that to English TV where he said that the three match ban + potential additional ban for the foul on Song (which didn’t even get a card) – depending on the referee’s report – could mean the end of Balotelli’s season with only 6 games in the league to go.
Like Mancini said, nothing more needs to be said about Balotelli that hasn’t already been said. He may have thrived under a more disciplinarian, less confrontational manager, but as you’ve seen with Balotelli under Mourinho and Tevez under Ferguson, sometimes players just don’t get it.
A more mature, ‘ideal’ version of Balotelli could have helped City keep their lead or at least keep the gap narrow between themselves and United. Now he’s as culpable as the rest of the squad in a 13-point shift that’s seen United turn a 5-point deficit into an 8-point lead.
As for Song, it’s good to know that he’ll be fit and keep playing for the rest of the season as Arsenal open up a two point lead ahead of Tottenham. Arsenal are now in third place and with six games to go, Song’s presence will be crucial in ensuring automatic Champions League qualification.