Monday, January 23, 2012

Mario in trouble again

Manchester City could be without striker Mario Balotelli for four games after he was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

The controversial Italian appeared to stamp on Scott Parker’s head during City’s dramatic 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and despite the incident going unpunished at the time, has been charged retrospectively.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was seething after Balotelli went on to scoring the winning penalty.

He said: "Why you should backheel someone in the head when they are lying on the floor is beyond me. It's not a nice thing to do. He reacts to challenges like that at times. Scott has got a cut on his head."

The usual punishment for violent conduct is a three-game ban, but Balotelli – an outside bet for punters who want to bet on the Premiership top scorer -  faces an additional one-match suspension having seen red against Liverpool at Anfield in November.

The Italy international has until 1800 GMT on Wednesday to respond to the charge. An unsuccessful appeal could result in a longer suspension. If he pleads guilty, Balotelli will miss the Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool on Wednesday evening.

As well as missing the game at Anfield, Balotelli would miss another trip to Merseyside when City take on Everton, a home game against Fulham and Aston Villa away. His next game could come against FC Porto in the Europa League on February 16.

The 21-year-old has played a big part in City’s impressive Premier League season with nine goals, but the striker is never far away from controversy and often spends more time watching live football from the sidelines than on the pitch.

City boss Roberto Mancini will need the brilliant Balotelli if they are going to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time. Mad Mario could well cost them it.

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