Man City striker Erling Haaland a doubt for Premier League trip to leaders Arsenal
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland is a doubt for Wednesday’s Premier League top-of-the table match at Arsenal after he was injured during the 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
Haaland, who has scored 25 Premier League goals this season, came off at half-time on Sunday as City led 3-0.
City boss Pep Guardiola said: “Erling has a knock; he was uncomfortable.”
“At half-time I spoke with the doctors. They said maybe with the score like it is we don’t take risks, and I agreed.”
Guardiola added: “If the score was tighter, then maybe I don’t do it. I think he is not injured but on Monday we are going to see.
“Hopefully he can be in for Wednesday. But if he is not ready or there is some risk, he is not going to play.”
City will move into top spot if they win at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal drew 1-1 at home to Brentford on Saturday, though they have a game in hand.
“The team who are above us dropped points, which is why it was important to take this opportunity and finally close the gap,” Guardiola added.
“They have played one game less, so we know the distance there is – we count that we are still six points behind – but we will travel to London to try to play our game.
“I feel like we have improved a lot, especially in training sessions in the last week or 10 days. Everyone is so focused, which gives us the chance to be competitive. It does not assure you to win but, without focus that is impossible.”
It might not be all bad news for City if Haaland is not fit for their pivotal face Arsenal.
He has not scored in any of his four away games in all competitions this year, and his mini-drought at any venue now stands at 261 minutes after he failed to find the net against Villa too.
The 22-year-old did at least manage one shot on Sunday, after failing to have any efforts at goal at all in the 1-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend, but he can blame Riyad Mahrez for denying him another, very simple, scoring chance.
Mahrez grabbed the ball after Jack Grealish was fouled in the box just before half-time and converted the subsequent penalty after refusing to give it up to Haaland or Rodri, who also wanted to take the spot-kick.
Guardiola was unsure why, saying: “Normally it is Erling who is the first taker – I wanted that to happen but Riyad always tries [to take them], and Rodri was involved.
“I don’t know what happened, honestly, so we will speak about it on Monday. I like it when people want to take a penalty but always there are [number] ones and the main player, that is Erling.”