Blogs & Opinion


Features:

Recent Comments:

Joe Rose on It's handy Carroll!

"I'm a big fan Chris, great column as usual. I'm one of many happy baggies fan, who are hailing Roy Hodgson for the work he has done. Firstly under Di Matteo we played good football but ... " View all comments

Not so Super Mario

City could be better off without Balotelli, says Jamie

Features - Jamie Redknapp Posted 31st January 2013 view comments

We're used to seeing Manchester City signing big name players on Deadline Day, not selling them - but Mario Balotelli's departure to AC Milan could work in their favour.

The players seemed to like him, the manager obviously loved him and some City fans would say he was a genius - but I never really saw it.

Balotelli gets the attention of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but when you look at what they produce and what he's done for City then there's no comparison.

Balotelli: Mancini wanted his countryman to succeed, but City are better off without him, says Jamie

Balotelli: Mancini wanted his countryman to succeed, but City are better off without him, says Jamie

He drew a lot of negative attention to the club and when you're going to be as disruptive as he is then you have to produce the goods on the pitch and I don't think he did that consistently enough for them.

He scored just one goal in his 14 appearances in the league this season, completing 90 minutes just once, and those stats simply don't outweigh the hassle which came with him.

If you're going to be as disruptive as Balotelli was then you have to produce the goods on the pitch and I don't think he did that consistently enough.

Jamie Redknapp
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Man City v Liverpool
3.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD
Also showing on Sky 3D
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

I hope the penny drops for him in Italy because it feels like he's wasting his talent at the moment.

We'll never forget his pass to Sergio Aguero for that title-winning strike against QPR, but that was his only league assist in 54 appearances for City and, although Balotelli fans will say it was the one that mattered, his reckless sending off against Arsenal a few weeks before that nearly cost them the title.

On the other hand, you could say he helped them win the title with that red card - without him in the team City pulled together and went on a great run!

I suspect he will find success in Serie A - it isn't as strong as the Premier League - but City will be better off without him.

I doubt Mancini wanted to sell him but he will find his job easier with just Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez to keep happy up front and as they're only challenging for the league and FA Cup now they can don't need four big-name forwards anyway.

Priority

City's priority now is focussing on a crucial game with Liverpool this Sunday.

Not many would have expected them to drop two points with a goalless draw at QPR in midweek but, although it was a surprising result on paper, I was at the game and the torrential rain and strong winds really had an impact and stopped the champions from getting the ball down and playing the way they can.

But, regardless of the elements, that draw, coupled with Manchester United's win over Southampton the following day, has left them trailing the league leaders by seven points and desperately needing to get back to winning ways this Sunday.

The pressure will really be on City come kick-off as well; United travel to Fulham on Saturday evening and I fully expect them to beat Martin Jol's struggling side and open up a 10-point gap on their neighbours.

And Brendan Rodgers' team will not be an easy proposition either, as Arsene Wenger's Arsenal found out on Wednesday night.

Liverpool were exceptional at times during their 2-2 draw at the Emirates and they'll be fired up for this one, knowing they need a win to maintain their aspirations of finishing in the top four this term.

Boost

The visitors will also be boosted by the arrival of Brazilian Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan, and although the attacking midfielder seems unlikely to feature at the Etihad due to an injury, he's an exciting signing for Liverpool fans.

Small and skinny, Coutinho is very good in one-on-one situations, a good passer and likes to cut in from the left. You can see a mile off he's Brazilian because he's got so much flair and Rodgers will be hoping the 20-year-old, who was touted as the next big thing when he went to Inter, can realise his potential at Anfield.

In the meantime, Rodgers will have to rely on the three S's - Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge - to provide an attacking threat, and with Vincent Kompany struggling with injury and Javi Garcia filling in at centre-half alongside Joleon Lescott, I reckon they can cause City problems.

With Kompany out and Yaya Toure at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool will know they have a good chance of getting a result this weekend - although 3-0 defeats in their past two league trips to the Etihad doesn't bode especially well for them.

This time round I reckon we'll see a repeat of the scoreline from when the sides met at Anfield earlier in the season, with a 2-2 draw leading to more frustration and disappointment for City fans.

That will leave them a fair way off United - but there's still a long way to go until the 2012/13 champions are crowned in May.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Costa's made a difference

Diego Costa has shown the impact he can have at Chelsea, but injuries are a worry, says Jamie Redknapp....

Gary Neville

Neville: Arsenal must sign a striker

Arsenal must sign a replacement for injured Olivier Giroud if they want to win the title, says Gary Neville....

Jeff Stelling

Stelling: Fears for Leeds

Jeff Stelling is worried that headline-making Leeds could end up slipping back into League One. ...

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Chelsea agree to loan Fernando Torres to AC Milan for two years, while Liverpool's Daniel Agger is linked with Brondby.

Torres heading for Milan

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres will have a medical at AC Milan on Saturday ahead of an agreed two-year loan deal.

Premier League preview

Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham against Liverpool and Leicester versus Arsenal.

Top-four target for van Gaal

Louis van Gaal has set Manchester United an initial target of a top-four finish in this season's Premier League.

UEFA to revamp seeding system

UEFA has confirmed it is close to changing the seeding system for the group stages of the Champions League.

Features

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Everyone agreed that Tottenham had acquired some fine players in the summer of 2013, but the notorious line that Spurs sold Elvis to buy the Beatles soon became a source of embarrassment. Not least because that cast young Erik Lamela as John Lennon, the most celebrated of the lot.

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.