City assistant manager David Platt dropped a strong hint on Tuesday that the club were unlikely to lodge an appeal for Balotelli but stressed a final decision had not yet been taken.
The Premier League leaders have until Wedneday evening to decide whether or not to contest Balotelli’s charges following the Italian’s clash with Parker during Sunday’s 3-2 win at Eastlands. However, Platt acknowledged the video footage of the incident did not “look good” and spoke of the “futility” of some appeals.
“We are likely to be without a player for four games,” Platt said ahead of City’s crunch League Cup semi-final second leg with Liverpool.
Balotelli will miss Wednesday’s League Cup game if City accept the ban but could play if the club choose to appeal. Any appeal would carry the risk of an increased ban at a crucial point in the season.
Platt suggested City’s decision might be influenced by their failure to overturn Vincent Kompany’s four-match ban earlier this month after he was controversially sent off against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
“I don’t think anybody thought we would win an appeal with Vincent Kompany, even though the majority of people didn’t feel he deserved a red card or a four-match ban. It shows the futility of an appeal sometimes,” Platt said.
“This looks poor when you slow it down,” he added, referring to Balotelli’s incident.
Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has dismissed talk of a rift with manager Arsene Wenger following the striker’s reaction to the substitution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Manchester United.
Van Persie, a pivotal figure for Arsenal this season as they attempt to qualify for the Champions League, appeared to exclaim “No!” when Wenger replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain with Andrey Arshavin during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat.
The decision was hugely unpopular with Arsenal’s fans, who roundly jeered Wenger following the move.
Holland striker van Persie however has moved quickly to play down suggestions of a split with Wenger, telling The Sun on Tuesday that Oxlade-Chamberlain had been replaced because of a calf injury.
“I was not having a go at the boss on Sunday – I was just sad to see Alex leave the pitch as he just gave the assist for our only goal,” van Persie said.
“I was not questioning his judgement – I know it’s not my place to challenge what Arsene Wenger does…
“Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain had a calf injury. We did not know that but the boss did and brought Andrey Arshavin on.”
“The manager and I are fine and my relationship with the club is good. There is no problem, there is no conflict and there is no controversy. The boss knows that, I know that and the players know that.”