Erling Haaland is a doubt for Arsenal’s match against Manchester City on Wednesday, but Pep Guardiola’s comments suggest he’ll play.
Erling Haaland came off at half-time in Manchester City’s win over Aston Villa at the weekend, with City 3-0 up and the striker picking up a knock.
Whilst various outlets report that Haaland is now a doubt for the match against Arsenal, Pep Guardiola seemed to suggest the withdrawal was only precautionary.
In fact, Guardiola hinted the centre-forward may even have played the second half of Sunday’s game, if it had still been in the balance.
“Erling has a knock; he was uncomfortable,” Guardiola said. “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.
“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.”
It’s not uncommon for managers to try some mind games ahead of important fixtures, sewing doubts over their team selection and so on.
But Guardiola doesn’t even seem to be doing that. He admits he doesn’t think Haaland is injured, and he admits he might not have taken the player off if the result hadn’t been secured. He stops short of saying anything definitive, but that’s standard practice.
The gossip around the knock seems to be more a case of the media trying to create a pre-game narrative.
The reality is that we can expect Haaland to start on Wednesday, and it should be a surprise if he doesn’t, not the other way around.