After all the negativity towards the richest club in the world, this could be the week where both Manchester City and Mario Balotelli come of age.
A Ten man City side- after Balotelli turned a sublime performance into rather stupid- demonstrated their brilliance as they disposed of West Brom at The Hawthorns with a 2-0 victory.
With the criticism increasing towards Roberto Mancini- there was one player who above the rest could vindicate the manager`s recent decisions- Mario Balotelli.
The Italian striker with the crazy if not fierce reputation has immediately entered the City line-up, forcing Emmanuel Adebayor to settle for the bench, despite his recent flurry of goals. However, the City boss was rewarded for his faith with Balotelli scoring two first half goals and earning City 3 precious points.
City`s three front men; David Silva, the aforementioned Balotelli and the returning Carlos Tevez were pulsating, creating chances and countless possession with ease. The link-up and desire was sensational- something City had missed in the previous two defeats.
. This link-up was crucial in architecting City`s opening. Playing with confidence, Silva played a disguised pass to Tevez who struck across the goal, his cross-come-shot allowed Balotelli to hold off two defenders and beat Scott Carson.
If Ballotelli`s first strike portrayed the importance of team-play, then he second demonstrated clinical and powerful individual skill. Silva clipped a delicate ball into the frontman, but with three defenders surrounding him he used his physical presence to create an opening, his right foot didn`t pass up the chance, smashing home past Carson in the Baggies goal.
After demonstrating how sublime he can be, Balotelli showed his infamous crazy side. The striker who gave City a perfect platform reacted petulantly towards a Mulumbu tackle and saw red.
The red card sparked the home side into life. After failing to create very little when the sides were equal, West Brom finally showed some impetus. First Cox`s strike thumped the post before Silva demonstrated his defensive skills clearing off the line.
Eventhough we had a man`s disadvantage we gallivanted forward effortlessly. Yaya Toure was justifying his inclusion with countless breaks forward leaving defenders in his wake. Nevertheless, scoring these opportunities proved too difficult to muster. Carlos Tevez and Gareth Barry had the greatest of City`s chances from Toure`s breaks, but several displays of defensive desperation kept the visitors at bay.
With both teams holding firm in the late stages, Mulumbu, the West Brom midfielder who urged the referee to remove Balotelli from the encounter, also received an early bath for a disgraceful challenge on Tevez.
The tackle illustrated their frustration towards Tevez who was constantly hacked down. After returning to Argentina, City clearly missed their hitman and his response today demonstrated what a fine and important player he is.
The Baggies hadn`t lost at home since January, so for City to record their first win in four here was remarkable. With United up next this was exactly what City and Mancini needed, maybe all this criticism was just a slump in form after all?
Although there wasn’t too much, everything that was thrown at him he dealt with.
The real Boateng. The performance we have all expected, looks a brilliant players.
Again he was fantastic, throwing himself into challenges, winning every header. Mr dependable.
His partnership with VK was solid once again and they got that deserved clean sheet. Very strong performance.
Another 100% performance. Was strong defensively, sometimes too rash.
Was worried his early booking would hamper his performance, but he kept their midfield very quiet.
After some very disappointing performances, he was back to his best. Some strong defensive play as well as strong going forward.
His carrying runs created so many opening. Was tough to budge, very, very fast.
Was unfortunate to be removed because of Balotelli’s petulance. His passing is expert, his skill is far ahead of the rest and he’s a real footballer.
Very glad to have him back. Created the first goal and ran The Baggies defence ragged all game.
Super Mario should have an 8 or 9 match rating for his time on the pitch, but his red card could have seriously hampered us for the last 3rd of the game. While on the pitch he showed how skillful and strong he is.
Ran at their defence with pace and skill, but due to the man’s disadvantage he didn’t have much support.
Didn’t have any time to impress. Was brought on so Zaba wouldn’t be sent off.