Mancini: No Balotelli fall-out
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists he's not fallen out with Mario Balotelli after the striker's exclusion from the squad in midweek.
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 whilst 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."
Balotelli is expected to be involved on Sunday, when City host in-form Arsenal, especially as former Gunner Samir Nasri is unlikely to be fit after limping out of the Madrid defeat with a hamstring injury.
"I don't think (Nasri) will be ready for Sunday," said Mancini.
"We will try but it is difficult."
Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero should be involved though, which is positive news for the Blues who have not started the campaign with any degree of fluency.
In the Premier League they remain undefeated. However, they have conceded in every match so far, have been forced to come from behind in three of their opening four games and are yet to register a clean sheet.
It is hardly the best backdrop to a visit from an Arsenal side who, like City, have collected eight points so far, but most recently secured an excellent win at Liverpool before belting six goals past Southampton, one of the teams Mancini's men have struggled against.
"This is not going to be an easy game," said Mancini.
"We have started the season with some problems and other injuries.
"But it is important we produce a good performance."