MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, September 21 – Manchester City playmaker Samir Nasri is set to miss Sunday’s home clash against former club Arsenal due to a hamstring injury picked up in their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
The Frenchman came off during the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu and is doubtful to face the Gunners in a top-of-the-table clash at the Etihad stadium, with both teams on eight points and two behind leaders Chelsea.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready for Sunday. We’re going to try but it’s going to be difficult,” explained City manager Roberto Mancini.
Mancini has been boosted by the return of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero who could make his first appearance this season after overcoming a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Mancini insisted that there was no bust up with striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian was left out of Manchester City’s squad for their Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Mancini instead explained that he wanted to play with just one striker and did not want any more than two strikers on the bench with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko favoured in front of Balotelli and Carlos Tevez starting.
The City manager was responding to questions following a newspaper report in Britain that suggested the striker was dropped because of a late night-out following the Blues’ draw with Stoke City last weekend.
Mancini said that Balotelli was just like any other squad player at the Etihad Stadium and would have to accept being dropped from time to time.
“It is totally false what someone wrote yesterday (Thursday). It is not true. Mario went to the stand only because we decided to play with only Tevez,” he told a news conference.
“Mario is a player like other players. When he is on the bench sometimes they don’t understand.”
City will be looking to bounce back from their Euroepan disappointment against Arsenal on Sunday, with Mancini adamant that they should put their experience at the Bernabeu behind them.
The Premier League champions were leading 2-1 with just five minutes to go but goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo swung the game back into Madrid’s favour and City were denied any points from their opening Champions League game.
But Mancini is confident City will be able to overturn the result when Jose Mourinho’s side visit the Etihad stadium later this year.
“I think we should be frustrated for what happened in the last five minutes but also happy because we did a good performance. It is not easy to score two goals in Madrid and to have a chance to win. I think next time will be a different game.