Two strikers on fire! Balotelli and our midweek picks

In yesterday’s blog, we somewhat jokingly referred to Mario Balotelli as Manchester City’s new fire marshal, following an incident in which he succeeded in setting fire to a room full of water. Well, it turns out we were more accurate than we thought.

Two strikers on fire! Balotelli and our midweek picks

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October 25th, 2011

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It turns out that someone in the Man City marketing office has a sense of humour, as Balotelli was made the official MCFC representative in support of the Treacle firework safety campaign. In true ‘health & safety’ fashion, the Italian striker even has the obligatory high visibility shirt.

The amazing adventures of Mario Balotelli took another hilarious twist on the eve of the Manchester derby, when the striker set his own home ablaze by trying to launch fireworks from the window of his bathroom. Needless to say, that’s the sort of thing that Treacle are wanting to discourage in this year’s November 5th campaign.

“It is important children should not mess with fireworks. They can be very dangerous if they are not used in the right way. People should follow the firework code,” said Balotelli, presumably with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight.

But actually, it wasn’t Balotelli setting fireworks off at all, according to the man himself, who added: “The newspapers got the story wrong about me. I didn’t set any fireworks off; it was a friend of mine. I didn’t know anything about it until I heard shouting coming from the bathroom. My friend apologised to me for the damage to my house. It was a really stupid thing to do.”

Balotelli has also thanked the City fans for their support during his return to form but, in a way that only he knows how, he dropped another faux-pas.

“Even when I have had bad moments they [the City fans] have supported me,” he said. “But I don’t care what people say about me. I am focused on my football, my manager, girlfriends and my family.”

Hang on… girlfriends? Plural?

Anyway, let’s pick out some tips for tonight’s matches, with a fill programme of League One and Two football on offer, alongside some Carling Cup action.

In League One, it’s high time we acknowledged the performances of Huddersfield’s Jordan Rhodes, who has been on fire for much longer than Balotelli’s bidet.

The Terrier’s striker has hit two hat-tricks in successive league games and has eight goals in three games for free-scoring Town. On that form, we like the look of the 7/1 being offered by Paddy Power on him scoring two or more against struggling Scunthorpe.

Also on the “to score two or more” front, back Michael Owen in Manchester United’s Carling Cup tie at Aldershot.

The format for these matches usually follows the same pattern. Owen sits on the bench for weeks, gets a run-out in the Carling Cup, scores a goal or two, the following morning is spent debating whether he should play for England again and then he sits on the bench until the next Carling Cup match. Back that pattern to be repeated with 5/1 on Owen scoring two or more.

Finally, in the depths of League Two, high-flying Crawley face low-lying Dagenham & Redbridge. Steve Evan’s side have six wins from six and should have no trouble overcoming the -2 handicap against a side that has lost four on the bounce.

Our picks:

Aldershot Town vs Manchester United: Michael Owen to score 2+ – 5/1 (General)

Scunthorpe United vs Huddersfield Town: Jordan Rhodes to score 2+ – 7/1 (Paddy Power)

Crawley Town vs Dagenham & Redbridge: Crawley -2 at 11/4 (Coral)

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