Barry hopes to break hoodoo with help of blond bombshell

Gareth Barry is determined to ensure 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 yesterday with his hair bleached bright blond.

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.

Afterwards, Mancini conceded the title and told Balotelli he would never play for the club again, neither of which proved to be accurate.

Yet the former Inter Milan man’s influence has certainly waned this season as City have struggled to match last term’s form. Currently seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United, Barry feels its time City made their mark in north London.

“I wasn’t aware it had been so long,” the England midfielder said. “Football is like that sometimes but 37 years is extraordinary.

“Records like that are rare but are there to be broken.

“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.”

City’s hopes of a rare away-day victory over the Gunners received a boost yesterday when it emerged Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is a doubt for the game.

Arsene Wenger said: “Everyone is fit from last weekend apart from Olivier Giroud. He has not been practising because of the cut on the knee he got at Swansea. We’ll have a final test on Saturday to see if he is involved. It is a 50:50. We’ll see.’’

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