Balotelli stamps his authority

The ever-entertaining Mario Balotelli was at the centre of attention once again this afternoon as he was involved in two major incidents in the second half of Manchester City’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham.

Manchester City took the lead early in the second half when Samir Nasri latched onto David Silva’s clever through ball to thump the ball into the roof of the net. Less than 4 minutes later, Joleon Lescott doubled the league leaders’ lead when he scrambled home an Edin Dzeko flicked-on corner.

Tottenham responded immediately with help of an awful header from Stefan Savic that allowed Jermain Defoe one-on-one with Joe Hart. The England striker, playing in replace of the ineligible Emmanuel Adebayor, took it past the England goalkeeper with his first touch before neatly slotting home into an unguarded net.

Stefan Savic, playing alongside Joleon Lescott with Vincent Kompany suspended and Kolo Toure at the African Cup of Nations has looked a liability at the back for Manchester City in the few appearances he has made for them during his debut season.

2011/12 Stefan Savic Vincent Kompany
Games Started 3 19
Substitute Appearances 6 0
Minutes Played 361 1694
Yellow Cards 3 1
Red Cards 1 0
Clean Sheets 1 8
Goals Conceded 4 13
Goals Conceded per Game 1.33 0.68
Ground 50-50 Win % 49.00% 67.00%
Aerial 50-50 Win % 53.00% 74.00%
Tackle Attempts 5 43
Tackle Success Rate 80.00% 88.37%
Minutes per Tackle 72 39
Interceptions 7 46
Dribbled Past 4 6
Defensive Errors 2 1
Possession Lost 2 4

5 minutes later Gareth Bale curled home a goal of the month contender from outside the penalty area after collecting a pass from Rafael van der Vaart. The first 4 goals of the game scored within an exciting 10 minute period.

With less than 10 minutes of the game to go, after Mario Balotelli let fly from 25 yards, he appeared to stamp on a grounded Scott Parker as he landed. Replays don’t defend the charismatic Italian too well.

After Jermain Defoe failed to connect cleanly with Gareth Bale’s ball inside the 6 yard box, Balotelli latched onto a hoof up field from Gael Clichy to be brought down inside the penalty area by Ledley King.

The Tottenham captain had previously been unbeaten in a Tottenham shirt since 28 August 2010 until Mario Balotelli himself stepped up to coolly convert the resulting penalty. When he’s not busy winning money on casino games, the Italian is more than capable of producing the goods on the pitch.

Manchester City now have a 6 point lead over Manchester United who kick off shortly at Arsenal, and are 8 points ahead of Spurs with 16 games to go.

Data provided by Opta Sports