EPL

Guardiola confirms Haaland will be fit for Man City's clash with Southampton

By Sports Desk April 07, 2023

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Erling Haaland will be fit to return for Manchester City at Southampton on Saturday.

The prolific striker missed a 4-1 Premier League thrashing of Liverpool last weekend due to a groin injury but was back in training this week.

City boss Guardiola on Friday revealed Haaland, who has scored a staggering 42 goals in his first season at the club, will be available to lead the line when second-placed City face bottom-of-the-table Saints at St Mary's.

The Catalan said: "He's been training really good the past two days; he will be ready."

City have won seven games in a row in all competitions and can reduce Arsenal's lead at the top of the league table to five points with another victory on the south coast, with the Gunners taking on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

The champions have scored 17 goals in their past three games as they challenge for more trophies.

Southampton beat City 2-0 at home in the EFL Cup three months ago, though, and Guardiola expects another tough battle.

"The patterns are quite clear," he said. "Every team is playing for something: a fight for the Premier League and a fight to be in the Premier League.

"Every game has its own characteristic, and you have to be ready. Southampton have always been so tough there. The game we made it to 100 points [in 2018] they were much better than us; we've drawn before.

"It's tough, and I have a feeling tomorrow won't be an exception."

Meanwhile, Guardiola does not believe playing before Arsenal is an advantage for his side.

Asked if that might benefit City, he said: "I don't think so. When we had a title race with Liverpool, we sometimes played before, sometimes later. We have to win our games."

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  • Pep Guardiola sets his sights on Real Madrid after Manchester City humble Luton Pep Guardiola sets his sights on Real Madrid after Manchester City humble Luton

    Pep Guardiola immediately turned his attention to the challenge of Real Madrid after his Manchester City side thrashed Luton 5-1 on Saturday.

    City enjoyed the perfect preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against the Spanish giants as they cruised past the Hatters in a one-sided encounter.

    An early own goal from Daiki Hashioka set them on their way before second-half strikes from Mateo Kovacic, Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol wrapped up a comfortable win.

    With the three points taking City back to the Premier League summit, putting pressure on rivals Arsenal and Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s fixtures, Guardiola could switch his focus to Real.

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    Guardiola said: “We have to admit it, what a privilege, still fighting for the Premier League, playing against Real Madrid with a chance to qualify for the semi-final, and the FA Cup next Saturday, a semi-final again.”

    Although City won comfortably, Guardiola felt Luton had made things difficult.

    He said: “It was really hard until the second goal.

    “We played really good and had a lot of chances in the first half but we missed something in the finishing.

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    He said: “It was always going to be difficult. Without sounding very defeatist, I almost made peace with it.

    “They were the dominant team, they were amazing, but we stayed in the game as long as we could. It’s tough but today was never going to derail us.”

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    He said: “No, he was just lying flat. I was just saying that in jest. I was just worried that he was.

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  • I’ve got nothing but praise for him – Craig Bellamy backs Aro Muric after error I’ve got nothing but praise for him – Craig Bellamy backs Aro Muric after error

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    Burnley’s goal also came from a back pass, with Carlos Baleba under-hitting a ball to Bart Verbruggen and Brownhill racing after it, with the keeper’s clearance rebounding off him and into the net.

    But the bigger frustration was with the chances Burnley missed earlier in the game, with opportunities for Jacob Bruun Larsen and David Fofana going begging – moments that would cost them by the end.

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    While Burnley rued two lost points, it was yet another draw for injury-hit Brighton – their 11th of the campaign, more than any other side.

    Roberto De Zerbi began with the day without nine players through injury and lost Pervis Estupinan only 13 minutes in, leaving the manager to admit their hopes of returning to Europe next season are in peril as they sit 10th in the table.

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