Balotelli still unlikely to feature against Arsenal despite Mancini comments
Not enough subs rather than a rift was the reason for Mario Balotelli's omission against Real Madrid
Mario Balotelli is 15/8 to be left out of Manchester City’s match-day squad to face Arsenal and this seems likely even though Roberto Mancini has dismissed claims that he has fallen out with his fellow Italian again.
Balotelli watched from the stands as the Premier League champions suffered a late defeat in Spain against Real Madrid in the Champions League, failing to feature in Mancini’s squad.
It was largely assumed that this decision had been made because of an off-field bust up between the duo.
However, Mancini has openly stated that it was because he did not want four strikers in his squad for the Bernabeu and Balotelli was the one chosen to be omitted.
Although more likely to start with two strikers at home to Arsenal in the Premier League next, the same conundrum faces Mancini.
With Sergio Aguero needing games after injury and Edin Dzeko scoring three goals in his last five league appearances, it is Balotelli that looks most likely to be left out again.
But there is the possibility that Mancini may choose to confirm that there is no rift with Balotelli by giving him some minutes against Arsenal.
It is 4/1 that he is named as a surprise starter and 8/11 that he is named among the substitutes at the Etihad.
As more of a long-term investment, punters may want to consider what the future holds for Balotelli.
Even-money is the price that he sticks around for the whole season but signs elsewhere next summer, with 8/5 on offer that he leaves during the January transfer window.
The latter would appear unlikely though as Mancini is almost certain to want to retain the services of four world-class strikers to cover squad rotation and potential injuries.
All odds and markets correct as of publication