CHIPPING IN - with Darren Foreman: Is this the final straw for hothead Balotelli?

Darren Foreman's column - Chipping In - is sponsored by The Roundel Cafe, Scarborough
Darren Foreman's column - Chipping In - is sponsored by The Roundel Cafe, Scarborough
0
Have your say

We’ve had conflicting reports surrounding the incident between Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli yesterday, with both camps suggesting the other is to blame.

With the huge influence the social media networks and 24-hour TV coverage, these incidents are getting more coverage than ever, but they are common place in the game.

Man City manager Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli came to blows at the end of training on Thursday morning after a miss timed tackcle by Balotelli. Players and training staff had to pul the couple apart before they left the training pitch.

Man City manager Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli came to blows at the end of training on Thursday morning after a miss timed tackcle by Balotelli. Players and training staff had to pul the couple apart before they left the training pitch.

Dust ups on the training pitch are nothing new and they will happen, and Mancini will be a feisty character as well.

I’ve seen players have problems with managers over the years and there is only ever one winner, the manager.

I had a falling out with the late Billy Ayre, unfortunately.

After a match we had a difference of opinions and his was the right one as he was manager.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 29, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 29, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Man City just seem a bit dis-jointed this year.

The manager has had a funny time of late with the press. He came out and publicly criticised his goalkeeper Joe Hart, which it totally wrong.

Hart is one of the top three or four keepers in the world. Every keeper makes mistakes every now and then and to come out and have a go at him in the press is wrong.

That sort of thing should be done behind closed doors, and maybe that is where Mancini’s man management falls short in my opinion.

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 1, 2013. See PA Story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 1, 2013. See PA Story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

I remember David Currie telling me that when he first signed for Nottingham Forest how surprised he was when he arrived for his first day of pre-season training.

The great Brian Clough just wandered in, gave Stuart Pearce some money and told him to take the lads for a walk to get an ice cream.

That obviously gave the lads a boost and got them all chatting before they started the rigorous pre-season drills.

You wouldn’t get a manager doing that now. Everything is under the microscope and the scrutiny these players are under is massive.

People said after he was sent off against Arsenal last season that it would be his last for the club, but he came back and played again.

But there is a limit to how much you can defend a player and I think both parties would benefit if Balotelli left the club.

There were some funny results over the Christmas period.

Liverpool losing at home to a struggling Aston Villa side and QPR winning at Chelsea after getting hammered by Liverpool.

The first half of that QPR v Liverpool match was embarrassing as well. It was like men versus boys.

The league is shaping up very nicely now though.

You’re looking at the two Manchester clubs going for the title and half a dozen battling against relegation.

Then the rest are all scrapping for places in the Europa League, with a couple hunting down the last two remaining Champions League spots.

My predictions:

Premier League: Manchester United.

Champions League: Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham.

Europa League: Arsenal, Everton & cup winners.

Relegation: QPR, Reading, Aston Villa.

Champions League: Barcelona.

Europa League: Bayer Leverkusen.

I believe the title is Manchester United’s to throw away now. Robin Van Persie has made a massive difference to the United side, he has it all for me.

As I mentioned above, City look a bit dis-jointed for me and they have problems in the camp.

Chelsea and Spurs look likely to get third and fourth spot. If you said to me who would I pay the most to watch at the moment, I’d say Spurs.

They’re playing some great stuff and Villas-Boas is doing a great job there and they’re looking good for the fourth spot.

Arsenal just seem a little inconsistent to me, although it wouldn’t surprise me if they sneaked in there again.

I think the battle for the Europa League spots will be between Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.

I may be biased being a Southampton fan, but I think down at the bottom that QPR, Reading and Aston Villa will drop into the Championship.

QPR may have some money to spend in January but they don’t have enough to stay up for me.

Reading look doomed, despite having a good manager in Brian McDermott. And it has to be between Villa and Wigan for the last spot.

Wigan will go down at some point, there is only so long you can narrowly avoid the drop, but Villa look really poor.

It was great to hear that almost 1,000 fans turned up for Scarborough Athletic’s win over rivals Bridlington Town on Boxing Day.

I couldn’t be there as I was working unfortunately, but from what I gather Boro deserved the win.

You like to think that if the game was in Scarborough that you could put a few hundred onto that figure.

It’s high time the council got some facilities sorted in town. For a town of our size not to have any good football facilities is ridiculous.

You travel to places like Pickering even and they have Mill Lane, Bridlington has Queensgate and Whitby has the Turnbull Ground.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK:

Jacques Kallis has to take this in my opinion. He became one of a select few to reach 13,000 Test Match runs, and for an all-rounder to do that is a marvellous achievement.

It’s an outstanding effort for an out-and-out batsman to manage it, but when you factor in Kallis’ efforts with the ball then you have to be impressed.

He’ll have to go down as one of the best, if not the best all-rounder in the history of the game.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Portsmouth fan James Shipp: “From Eufa Cup football to the lower reaches of the third division in less than half a decade.”

That just illustrates how much influence finances have on the game now.