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There's something about Mario

ESPN staff
October 23, 2011
Mario Balotelli made a silent statement following his first-half goal © AFP
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Questions were asked of Roberto Mancini's decision to include Mario Balotelli in his starting line-up, after the Italian had been reprimanded following an incident in his bathroom with some fireworks, but the decision paid almost immediate dividends as the former Inter Milan striker planted his feet and rolled City into the lead after less than 20 minutes. But the moment wasn't over there. Balotelli - either showing a marvellous lack of self-awareness, or a previously overlooked capacity for self-deprecation - revealed his t-shirt underneath, bearing the slogan 'Why Always Me?' About the only person who didn't find the moment funny was referee Mark Clattenburg, who was forced to book him. Needless to say, it was certainly worth it.

The great conspiracy
QPR's 1-0 win over Chelsea will go down in Loftus Road folklore, but referee Chris Foy arguably played a greater part in the result than the likes of Joey Barton, Adel Taarabt or Shaun Wright-Phillips. A controversial penalty decision and two red cards left the Blues with a mountain to climb at half-time, and despite a gutsy effort were unable to find a way back into the match. But the first-half events which saw Chelsea down to nine before the break had the conspiracy theorists buzzing. Foy, and all Premier League referees are sponsored by Tune Group, founded by QPR owner Tony Fernandes.

David again slays Goliaths
Purely based on a player's physical stature (an unreasonable yardstick if ever there was one), then few observers would have picked David Silva to be the man who would turn United's Theatre of Dreams into a living nightmare. But the fleet-footed Spaniard worked away at his opponents with Zorro-like precision, making a series of cuts with his great range of passing to eventually leave United with their pants down. A virtuoso performance from the former Valencia man, who underlined his credentials as one of the stars of the season so far.

Punditry masterclass
Sky Sports commentator Jamie Redknapp at half-time at Old Trafford, with City leading 1-0: "There are more goals in this game. This game has goals left." You've got to hand it to him, that was literally a top, top prediction. Although fellow pundit Gary Neville didn't exactly look in the mood to congratulate him at the final whistle. Funny, that.

Royston of the Rovers stuff
Everton have struggled a bit for attacking creativity since they lost Mikel Arteta at the end of the transfer window, but up until today manager David Moyes had been loath to start new boy Royston Drenthe - a man who appears to have a genuine flash of inspiration - in a Premier League game. For whatever reason the Scot changed his mind for the game against Fulham, and Drenthe repaid the faith by scoring with a crisp effort after just three minutes. Here's betting Drenthe starts more games in the coming weeks...

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