After just one season of being more than mere ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City have had to relinquish their crown to their more illustrious city rivals. Manchester United have comprehensively wrapped up the Premier League title with plenty of time to spare leaving City with some tinkering to do in the summer.
In part one reason why United have outdone City this year is goals. Last year it was goal difference that earned City the crown and Sir Alex Ferguson immediately vowed that he would never miss out on the title by those means ever again.
Thus the signing of Robin Van Persie became imminent. The Premier League’s top-scorer went to United despite interest from The Etihad and a considerably larger pay-packet likely on offer. 25 league goals later and United have not looked back out-scoring their rivals by 18 goals.
So how Manchester City could have done with a potent finisher this season; just like the one they let go in January.
Since leaving England for his beloved AC Milan controversial Italian striker Mario Balotelli has been in superb form.
He bagged a brace on his debut against Udinese and has since gone on to score 11 goals in 11 games - if you include his double for Italy against Malta at the tail-end of March.
He added another goal to his tally at the weekend to sink Torino and keep the Rossoneri on target for what seemed an unlikely Champions League place when he first arrived at the team; but a fantastic run of form has put paid to that.
Of course the reason City let him join Milan for £19 million in January had little to do with football. His controversial behaviour was a constant distraction from footballing matters and in the end his unhappiness was clearly having a detrimental effect on his game. Simply put; he had to leave.
But if City had just managed to figure him out, and perhaps the press left him alone for a little while, the mercurial talent that is Balotelli may have provided the firepower that took City to more of a title defence.
As it is it seems he is on his way to cult status of a different kind at the San Siro.
What do you make of Mario Balotelli’s Serie A form?
image: © mcr_joe