Barry hopes for Emirates hair-raiser
Gareth Barry is determined to ensure that Arsenal are shocked by more than just Mario Balotelli's new hairstyle as Manchester City aim for a first league win away to the Gunners since 1975 this weekend.
Only a week ago, Balotelli was being hauled away from manager Roberto Mancini following a training ground bust-up. But it seems the 22-year-old's flamboyant nature has not been affected by such strife, as he turned up at City's Carrington base on Thursday morning with his hair bleached bright blond, ensuring he stands out in any crowd.
However, City have struggled to match last term's form and currently seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United, Barry feels its time they made their mark. "I wasn't aware it had been so long," Barry told www.mcfc.co.uk. "Football is like that sometimes but 37 years is extraordinary. Records like that are rare but are there to be broken."
The England midfielder added: "We have to go to the Emirates, play as well as we know we are capable of and see if we can put an end to our poor run of league results on their ground."
The Blues were happy enough to post the images of Balotelli's new hairstyle on their own website, underlining that the Italian remains very much within the fold as Mancini indicated last week.
City will certainly hope the Italy forward is fully focused this weekend, when he returns to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since his staggering appearance last April, when he should have been sent off for an atrocious tackle on Alex Song and eventually did see red for two bookable offences.
Tony Book was in charge when City secured a 3-2 triumph at Highbury in 1975. They did win a League Cup quarter-final at the Emirates last season, but they have not actually scored a league goal at Arsenal since DaMarcus Beasley's effort in the 3-1 defeat in 2007.
Indeed, Arsenal have often impressed at the Etihad Stadium as well, including this term when they were unfortunate to find themselves held to a 1-1 draw.
"They surprised me just how good they were that day," said Barry. "They will be disappointed they've not played as well as that more often this season. We know there is a need for us to keep winning games because seven points (to leaders Manchester United) is not a small gap and we can't allow that to increase.
"But sometimes the pressure can actually flip around to the team in front and the one chasing can go into games more relaxed. We're not going to let it overly worry us at this point."