Man City V Arsenal at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

23 September 2012 12:31
Man City V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

No fall-out with Balotelli, insists Mancini Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists he has not fallen out with Mario Balotelli ahead of the visit of Arsenal. Mancini has a tempestuous relationship with the fiery Italy forward. Frequently the City manager has spoken out about Balotelli's behaviour and general lifestyle, at one point declaring the former Inter Milan man had no future at the Etihad Stadium. When Balotelli was left out of Mancini's squad altogether for the midweek Champions League tie with Real Madrid, it suggested another major bust-up. Stories appeared to that effect in the aftermath of City's 3-2 defeat in the Bernabeu, although sources close to the player insisted he behaved normally on the flight back to England. And while Mancini could hardly claim Balotelli was overjoyed at missing such a high-profile game, the Italian insisted there was no deep-rooted issue. "I don't have any problem with him," said Mancini. "There has been no argument. Absolutely not. This story is totally false. "Mario went to the stand because we decided to play only with (Carlos) Tevez and I can't put three strikers on the bench. Mario is a player like the other players. He can go on the bench or in the stand." Midfielder Samir Nasri looks set to miss the clash against former club with a hamstring injury. Striker Sergio Aguero is poised to make his first appearance since the opening match after overcoming a knee problem. Defender Joleon Lescott will hope to reclaim his place but right-back Micah Richards (ankle) remains sidelined. Arsenal will again be without first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny because of an ankle problem. Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) both returned to training this week but are still some way from first-team contention. Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and French defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg) are expected to feature within the next fortnight. Manager Arsene Wenger accepts there were probably times when midfielder Wilshere doubted whether he would ever play again. Wenger will take no chances with the 20-year-old, who is likely to have a few reserve outings before being considered for first-team action. The Gunners boss understands Wilshere has been through a testing spell of "highs and lows" during his 14-month rehabilitation, a spell which saw him need further surgery just when a recovery appeared on the horizon. "When you are so young and out for 14 months that is a good test for your mental strength," said Wenger. "On that front he has been absolutely brilliant because he had not only ankle surgery, but when he thought that was over he had knee surgery. He handled that very well, I must say. "I refused to give up, because he is a 19-year-old boy, so I always thought he would come back. I am not medically expert enough to know how big the damage was in his ankle. It never crossed my mind. Has it crossed his mind? Only he can answer that - I think, yes. Jack, though, has always been with a good level of confidence. I believe what he has gone through will make him even stronger."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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