Pep Guardiola has reflected that Erling Haaland was taken off at halftime as a safeguard after experiencing a “big knock” in Manchester City’s necessary 3-1 win against Aston Villa on Sunday, 12th of February, 2023, at the Etihad Stadium.
The defending Premier League champions enjoyed a three goals lead in the first half thanks to goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez who took the advantage of a penalty given to the Citizens.
Haaland, Man City’s top scorer registered an assist for the second goal of the match but did not come back for the second half and was replaced by Julian Alverez.
It was believed that the star striker may have injured himself during a crash with Aston Villa’s goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Pep Guardiola has confirmed that the Norwegian forward was forced off with a minor pain.
Speaking after the match, Pep Guardiola, the Spaniard coach told reporters that “He (Erling Haaland) had a big knock, he was uncomfortable, we didn’t want to take a risk and we will assess him the next day how it goes”.
Erling Haaland since joining Manchester City last summer has scored 25 goals in the English Premier League this season so far.
Haaland has failed to score in any of his four away games this season across all competitions, extending his mini-drought at any venue to 261 minutes.
The words from Guardiola have cast doubt on Haaland’s availability for Wednesday’s crucial match against Arsenal.
With a win, the reigning Premier League champions would be on equal points with Mikel Arteta’s club and into first place due to superior goals difference.
Haaland is the Premier League’s leading scorer, but his absence from the midweek matchup might be huge for Arsenal.
However, Guardiola did concede that Manchester City’s commanding 3-0 lead played a role in his choice. In his own words, he continued: “Perhaps I wouldn’t bother if the end outcome was more secure. I don’t think he’s hurt, but we’ll know for sure tomorrow. If there’s any doubt about whether or not he’ll be ready to play on Wednesday, he won’t.”
Haaland got into a heated argument with another player after Manchester City was given a penalty shortly before he left the game. Mahrez, who converted the penalty, has taken more penalties for Man City this season but has missed a few, while Haaland has scored four times from the spot.
After being slammed with various accusations of more than 100 violations, spanning from 2009 to 2018, Manchester City supporters booed the Premier League anthem before the game.
With a win in north London, City will climb above the Gunners on goal difference and into first place in the Premier League table, despite having played one more game than Arsenal.
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