I think Balotelli had a love/hate thing going on here and I (as one who loved him) will be sorry to see him go but, I agree, I think it's the best thing for him.
QPR have improved a bit since replacing their manager but yeah, those are the very games City has to win if they're to get closer to Utd. Fortunately for them, Utd have also dropped points to teams that on paper they should've breezed past. The difference seems to be Van Persie. While City's forwards seem to be struggling to regain their form from last season, VP seems as lethal for Utd as he was for Arsenal. What's letting Utd down is their defence.