Balotelli spoilt and needs to be sent packing

First there was the leg breaking tackle on Alex Song, in which both players were extremely lucky. Balotelli that the referee missed the assault, and Song that his leg was still in one piece afterwards. Then similar challenges on Bacary Sagna twice finally saw the Italian find his way into the referee’s notebook.

Balotelli seemed to be playing the fool, contrary to the advice of Nigel de Jong, and had a shot from a corner blocked by Theo Walcott, causing him to lash out on the post in frustration, rather than an Arsenal player’s knee for once.

Then after two dives down the right hand side, Mikel Arteta finally scored and Balotelli saw red, scything down Sagna. For a team needing to win to keep alive faint title hopes, Balotelli’s subsequent slow walk to the tunnel infuriated his manager and team mates. He seems to have lost all the friends he may once have had at the club and his apology on Monday night was nothing short of pathetic.

Seemingly to gain favour in Italy to help his prospects of being picked for the European Championships, he apologised to Roberto Mancini. An apology really is worthless when your list of misdemeanours is as large as this petulant child’s. And it may well prove that way too at the Etihad, where Mancini appears to have finally lost patience with the Italian. Then again he lost patience with Carlos Tevez too…

Balotelli is often lauded for his skill on the ball, but that has been rarely seen this year. He has scored a few penalties, and has finished some chances well, but rarely has he picked the ball up and created out of nothing. He has not scored the kind of brilliant long range strike he used to in Italy since arriving in Manchester. He has been hugely over hyped, and is not living up to anywhere near the standards we have come to expect of a player who has shown little evidence that he is that good.

But Balotelli continues to need to be the centre of everyone’s attention. A fawning English media have played into his hands for much of the campaign, revelling in his bad boy ways whilst showing ability on the pitch, but they have now turned on him too. The player has few friends left, showing by the way they all walked past him on Sunday when he lay injured at half time. A cry for help it may be, but the Sicilian is surely heading on a plane back to Italy some time soon. And permanently.