Pep Guardiola has admitted he is not sure if Erling Haaland will be available to play for Manchester City in Saturday’s clash with Leicester City.
The champions travel to the King Power Stadium for the opening match of the Premier League weekend and will be hoping to, at least temporarily, move to the summit of the table. City currently trail Arsenal by two points, with the Gunners facing Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
But the Blues could be without Haaland for the trip to Leicester with the Norwegian forced off at half-time in the midweek Champions League draw against Borussia Dortmund. “[There were] three things,” Guardiola explained on Tuesday. “I saw him so tired. Second one, he had a little bit of influenza in his body. Then the third, he had a knock in his foot. That’s why he was not able to play the second half.”
But speaking in Friday’s pre-Leicester press conference, the City boss revealed he remains uncertain if Haaland will play on Saturday. “He [Haaland] feels better but we train this afternoon and we will assess him in the next few hours,” said Guardiola. “We will see how he is feeling and after we will decide.”
The Catalan also revealed Julian Alvarez is the first choice to replace Haaland should the No.9 not be fit for Saturday’s game. “Normally, if Erling is not ready, Julian is the first option of course. He can play as a false nine but I think this is not going to happen,” he explained.
“I think Julian can drop and he is good at dropping and playing. I think if Erling is not ready, not tomorrow, but for the future, Julian is the first option.”
Guardiola also confirmed Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips remain out through injury, but Ederson will return to the team after missing the midweek draw in Germany.