Carlos Tevez and manager Roberto Mancini may insist there is no rift between them after City beat Bolton 1-0 at Eastlands, but their latest row has raised more concerns that disciplinary problems could damage what has become a genuine title challenge.
From Tevez's petulant reaction to being substituted, to the booking for dissent which rules him out of next weekend's trip to his old club West Ham, to Aleksandar Kolarov's red card and the walking timebomb that is Mario Balotelli, City could have done without Saturday's dramatics just 24 hours after the much-publicised training-ground scrap between Jerome Boateng and Balotelli.
Tempers flare: Manchester City skipper Carlos Tevez (left) argues with boss Roberto Mancini (right) after being substituted against Bolton
Never mind football management, Mancini must wish he knew more about anger management. Although the Italian has guided his side to fourth, just one point behind champions Chelsea, a game City should have won comfortably after Tevez's early strike ended with them hanging on with 10 men.
Mancini said Boateng's absence had nothing to do with the bust-up. And while he may be right that training confrontations are common - 'This happens in every team every day. It started and finished in three seconds' - to claim he was happy with Tevez's angry response to being replaced by James Milner is harder to swallow.
Shove off: Tevez was then pushed towards the dug-out by Mancini
Bolton captain Kevin Davies was certainly not buying it. 'Seeing Tevez's reaction to being subbed assures me there is problems within at City,' Davies wrote on Twitter. 'Great players individually but as a team? If you are subbed it is the manager's decision and you should show bit of respect to the player coming on.'
City skipper Tevez launched a tirade at Mancini and snubbed the offer of an embrace from his manager, who responded by shoving him towards the bench. It followed their half-time row at Newcastle in October but Tevez insists: 'Of course I get on well with Roberto and I back him 100 per cent. We both want the same and that is success. We both want to win.'
Mancini seemed more concerned with the one-game ban Tevez will serve after he was booked for slamming the ball angrily into the hoardings by referee Andre Marriner, who showed Kolarov a second yellow for his lunge at Bolton full back Sam Ricketts.
'One time is OK,' said Mancini. 'But Carlos must pay attention or we will be without him a lot of times.'
Balotelli is expected to play at Upton Park but will have to be careful after treading a fine line against Bolton.
Balotelli, sent off at West Brom last month, responded to being goaded by Zat Knight by angrily pursuing him, and then having a verbal spat with Bolton manager Owen Coyle.
Michael Ricketts , who earned a solitary England cap, was arrested outside the nightspot which hosted Manchester City's Christmas party on Saturday. Ricketts, 32, who is without a club, was charged with assault on a 33-year-old woman, thought to be his partner, in Hale and will appear before Trafford magistrates next week. City Brawlers! Tevez and Mancini at war again but the title is still onFancy that! Just to prove that life is always colourful at Manchester City AC Milan still in the hunt for battling Manchester City striker BalotelliMANCHESTER CITY FC