Manchester City responded to a tough period on and off the field by storming into a 3-0 halftime lead during Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa.
Pep Guardiola’s side suffered another slip-up in their title defense last weekend as they were beaten 1-0 at Tottenham.
The Premier League on Monday charged the eight-time English champions with 115 breaches of competition rules, most of which stemmed from UEFA’s 2018 action against City over counterfeit bills.
As he faced the media for his pre-match press conference, Guardiola was in no mood, City players receiving messages from their manager and a packed Etihad Stadium.
Last season’s latest hero Ilkay Gundogan – Rodri put them further ahead, doubling their advantage and making it 3-0 from Riyad Mahrez’s spot-kick after Jack Grealish had conceded a penalty against his former club.
But it came at a cost when star striker Erling Haaland was forced off at half-time.
What is Erling Haaland’s injury?
Haaland was replaced by Argentina World Cup winner Julian Alvarez at the break on account of a presumed thigh injury.
He took a blow to his upper left leg in a challenge with Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez during a passage of play that saw Gundogan thump the ball into the net.
The goal was disallowed, with Haaland penalised for a foul on Matinez, even though it now looks like he came out of the collision worse.
What Man City games will Erling Haaland miss?
Speaking to Sky Sports, Guardiola said the initial prognosis on Haaland was unclear.
“I don’t know. He has a big knock,” he said. “He was uncomfortable. At 3-0, we did not want to take a risk. We will assess in the next days.”
The fact it appeared to be an impact injury, as opposed to a muscular strain, means a quick return is certainly possible.
Any absence at all would be keenly felt, however, with City due to travel to Arsenal on Wednesday for a crunch showdown in the Premier League title race.
“If he’s not ready, we’ll play another one,” Guardiola added. “Hopefully he is ready like everyone. We will see in the next days.”
Guardiola’s side moved to within three points of Mikel Arteta’s table toppers as they closed out a 3-1 win after Ollie Watkins pulled a goal back after the hour
At his post-match news conference, the City manager was cautiously optimistic over Haaland’s prospects.
“At halftime I spoke with the doctors and [they] said, ‘Maybe with 3-0 don’t take a risk’. I was alright, I agreed with the doctors. With the result more tight, maybe I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
“I think he’s not injured but tomorrow we will see. Hopefully he can be in on Wednesday. If he is not ready or there is some risk he is not going to play.”
Clicks on ADS 👇👇.