Erling Haaland is a doubt for Manchester City’s trip to Arsenal on Wednesday, when the champions would go top if they beat the leaders, but Pep Guardiola is happier with his players in advance of the pivotal meeting because of a renewed focus in training.
Haaland was taken off at half-time of Sunday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa after a kick to the thigh. Guardiola said: “We will see in the next few days how he will do. At half-time I spoke with the doctors and they say: ‘Maybe don’t take risks.’ I agree. I think he is not injured but tomorrow we will see. If there is some risk he is not going to play.”
Goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gündogan and Riyad Mahrez were answered only by Ollie Watkins as City moved to within three points of Mikel Arteta’s side, meaning victory at the Emirates would pull them ahead on goal difference, though they have played a match more. Guardiola has recently been discontented with his team but stated they were improving.
Guardiola was asked whether he was confident of beating Arsenal with or without Haaland. “They have one game left [more to play],” he said. “Last season we were 12-13 points ahead of Liverpool and people say it is over [and they went close to closing the gap].
“We know the distance we have. Today I have this feeling that in this league every game will be so difficult. Every game is tougher and tougher but we travel to London to try and do our game.”
Guardiola was pleased with the support from City fans at the first match since news broke of the Premier League’s 101 charges against the club.
“Today is a good example and seeing people there is nice,” he said. “But it happens this week and the next week it will be forgotten and everyone will still do the job in the club.”
Unai Emery apologised to Villa fans for the display. “I can only say sorry to our supporters, and we did not play in the way we have been,” said the manager
Source: The Guardian