September 25, 2023

Pep Guardiola is unsure if Erling Haaland will be available for Manchester City’s huge Premier League showdown with title rivals Arsenal.

Norway international Haaland was substituted at half-time of City’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday with what Guardiola described after the game as “a big knock”.

The 22-year-old is therefore considered a doubt for Wednesday’s trip to leaders Arsenal, despite taking part in Monday’s recovery training session with the rest of his team-mates.

Providing an update at a press conference on the eve of the match at Emirates Stadium between first and second, Guardiola gave little away on Haaland’s fitness.

“We train this afternoon. Right now, I don’t know. Yesterday was a recovery day after playing Aston Villa. That’s all.”

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Haaland has found the net 31 times in 29 appearances since joining City from Borussia Dortmund – six goals more than any other player across Europe’s top five leagues.

That tally includes 25 goals in 21 Premier League outings, though he has scored in only two of City’s six games in the competition this calendar year, albeit netting four times.

City will give Haaland every chance of being available for the huge contest as the reigning champions look to close the three-point gap on Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

Guardiola’s side have won three of their past four league games, whereas Arsenal have just two victories in their past five outings.

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The two sides face off again in April and Guardiola insists nothing will be decided on Wednesday in terms of where the title ends up.

“So far, they are the best team in the league,” Guardiola said.

“We felt it a couple of weeks ago when we played them. The commitment, they are sharp. It will be a big, big battle. In all departments, you have to be ready.

“Every game is different. You can play good and win and everything is perfect but tomorrow you could lose. There are many games to play.

“Tomorrow is an important one, everyone knows it, and we’ll try to do our best. It’s important because we can take the points, and stop the best team [in the league] from doing so.

“But I have a feeling many things can happen. Tomorrow can help us be there, but there are many games, tough games. We cannot deny it’s important to prove ourselves.

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