Is it fatigue or Balotelli that has cooled El Sharaawy's hot start?
For the good of AC Milan and Italian National Team they must! But since Mario has arrived and taken on the mantle as the "King of Milan," the Little Pharaoh has faded. My personal belief is that his dip in form is simply due to fatigue and the wearing down of his youngish frame over the course of the season. He has played the most minutes of everyone on the team, and even before Mario arrived his torrid start was cooling off.
At the start of season he was wide-eyed and opponents were not yet keyed into what he could and would become. In fact the entire team was a relative unknown commodity. Young, inexperienced, lacking chemistry and inconsistent, it was El Sharaawy's form that carried the team through the rough start; flirting with the top of the scoring table, and wowing tifosi and outsiders along the way. But as people started to take notice so did opponents and what was easy for El Sharaawy was now becoming difficult with double teams and constant man marking. He rose to the challenge, but the demands both physically and mentally have taken their toll.
Enter Balotelli, brash, abrasive, and relatively unfit having not featured much for former Club Manchester City, and instead of taking the spotlight from El Sharaawy and bearing the double teams, he is given a pass to the tune of seven goals in six matches. Not making things easier for El Sharaawy on the pitch or off it. It is important that Balotelli is a different kind of striker, he is not Zlatan-esque working players into the mix, he is more of a hammer then a scalpel, and prefers to be the focal. This helps especially with strikers supporting him, but has limited touches for El Sharaawy and done little to open up space for him on the left flank. Pazzini is the more ideal partner holding up the ball and playing square and through balls behind fullbacks and into space, but Balotelli is certainly capable of the same, if not more.
It needs to be said that fatigue, and the niggling knee issues, are most likely limiting El Sharaaway and a bit of patience and chemistry will go a long way in the foster of a true partnership between the two. How or when that happens remains to be seen, but regardless it will take a time. The formation is OK (not my favorite), the supporting cast is OK, and it due time the partnership will be too. In the meantime it is time Balotelli's shoulders carry a bit of a load and El Sharaawy is promptly thanked and admired for the effort he has already accomplished!