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Balotelli scores 3 as Man City thrashes Villa 4-0

 Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, left, jumps for the ball against Aston Villa's James Collins during their English Premier League soccer match at T...
 Manchester City's Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring his third goal against Aston Villa during their English Premier League soccer match at The...
 Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini directs proceedings during his team's English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at The City o...

APTOPIX Britain Soccer Premier League

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, left, jumps for the ball against Aston Villa's James Collins during their English Premier League soccer match at T...

Britain Soccer Premier League

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring his third goal against Aston Villa during their English Premier League soccer match at The...

Britain Soccer Premier League

Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini directs proceedings during his team's English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at The City o...

Unsettled striker Mario Balotelli scored a hat trick as Manchester City kept the pressure on crosstown rival Manchester United at the top of the Premier League by thrashing struggling Aston Villa 4-0 on Tuesday.
The Italy international, who started in place of rested top scorer Carlos Tevez, converted penalties in the eighth and 55th minutes to open and round off the scoring in a convincing victory at Eastlands.
Balotelli's other goal came from a close-range tap-in in the 27th minute after center back Joleon Lescott had made it 2-0 with a fine header from a corner in the 13th.
City went provisionally top with the win but United, which is a point behind but has three games in hand, can reclaim the lead later Tuesday when it visits Birmingham. Arsenal can also jump back above City if it wins at Wigan on Wednesday.
Tottenham beat Newcastle 2-0 to go provisionally fourth ahead of Chelsea, which hosts Bolton on Wednesday, and Blackpool upset Sunderland 2-0 thanks to two goals from D.J. Campbell to claim another notable victory in its first season back in England's top division.
Reports in sections of the British media suggested Tuesday that Balotelli wants to leave City after failing to settle in Manchester following his 24-million-pound ($37 million) offseason move from European and Italian champion Inter Milan.
The 20-year-old striker has been in and out of City's starting lineup and had only scored twice in the league _ both coming at West Bromwich Albion in November _ before Villa's welcoming defense arrived at City of Manchester Stadium.
"I think that's normal," City manager Roberto Mancini said, when asked why Balotelli was struggling to adapt. "He is 20, it's his first time away from (Italy) and he's missing his family."
Balotelli made it three for the campaign when he picked himself up after being felled by American defender Eric Lichaj to slot his penalty into the bottom-right corner.
Lescott doubled the lead by glancing in Adam Johnson's right-wing corner, before Balotelli applied a finish from three yards after goalkeeper Brad Friedel had parried David Silva's shot.
Balotelli's third also came from the penalty spot, after Johnson was fouled, to leave City well in title contention and Villa two points above the relegation zone.
Tottenham had to grind out a win with 10 men for the second time in three days after Younes Kaboul was sent off in the 65th minute for an attempted head-butt on Cheick Tiote.
Aaron Lennon had given Spurs the lead in the 57th and Gareth Bale eased any nerves by scoring the second in the 81st following a rapid counterattack.
"I'm disappointed with the sending-off but the lads were fantastic after that. It's a fantastic result," said Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, whose side is unbeaten in its last eight league matches.
Campbell struck both goals in the second half for Blackpool, which ended Sunderland's undefeated home record in the league.
It was Blackpool's fifth away league victory this season but Sunderland will rue a host of missed chances in either half.
Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic scored two goals before being sent off as his team beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 to give new manager Steve Kean his first league win since replacing Sam Allardyce.
Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird was on target with two long-range strikes in the opening 10 minutes as Fulham beat Stoke 2-0 away for a first away victory in the league in 27 attempts.
Everton visits West Ham in the other late match on Tuesday.
Liverpool hosts Wolves in Wednesday's third match.


Updated : 2021-05-12 03:22 GMT+08:00