Erling Haaland is pictured travelling down to London with his Manchester City team-mates in a huge boost to Pep Guardiola ahead of their title showdown with Arsenal after he limped off injured on Sunday
- Erling Haaland was taken off at half-time against Aston Villa with an ankle knock
- Pep Guardiola had raised doubts about whether he would be fit to face Arsenal
- The Norwegian forward was pictured travelling down to London with the squad
Erling Haaland has travelled to London with the Manchester City squad despite concerns over his fitness.
Pep Guardiola’s side take on Arsenal in a crunch top-of-the-table clash at the Emirates on Wednesday night, with City able to leapfrog their opponents with a win.
The Norwegian was withdrawn at half-time in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa after picking up an ankle knock, raising questions over whether he would be fit to make City’s squad against the Gunners.
But Guardiola explained that Haaland had been taken off as a precaution on Sunday, saying after the game: ‘He had a big knock, he was uncomfortable.
‘We didn’t want to take a risk and we will assess the next days how he does.’
Erling Haaland has travelled with Man City to Arsenal despite concerns over his fitness
There were doubts over whether the forward would be fit for their crunch game with Arsenal
Further doubts were raised about his participation at the Emirates this evening when Guardiola claimed he was unsure about the state of the forward’s fitness earlier this week.
In his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, he added: ‘We train this afternoon [Tuesday]. Right now I don’t know [if Haaland would be fit].
‘Yesterday was about recovery from Aston Villa. That’s all.’
Haaland did train with the squad on Tuesday before he was pictured travelling down to London with his team-mates on Wednesday morning – coming as a huge boost for City.
Guardiola – who was also pictured – and his squad travelled by train ahead of Wednesday’s game.
Several other City players such as Nathan Ake, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne were also snapped and looked in good spirits in preparation for their battle with the Gunners.
Guardiola was in a defiant mood in his pre-match press conference, insisting City would fight until the end to defend their title.
He said: ‘The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are.
‘If they beat us because they are better then this is sport, I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there. You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands.
‘We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like. To fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. If we don’t, accept it, but we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.’
Guardiola also said he expected Arsenal to come roaring back after feeling aggrieved over the manner of their 1-1 draw against Brentford.
Ivan Toney’s equaliser should have been disallowed for offside but a mistake was made in the VAR review.
Haaland was withdrawn at half-time during Sunday’s game with Aston Villa at the Etihad
Pep Guardiola (L) was in a defiant mood before the crunch game with Mikel Arteta’s (R) Arsenal
Guardiola said: ‘They will be dangerous. When you drop points and you’re not used to dropping points, the next game you have something special.
‘Watching the two games, I don’t have the feeling that they dropped the way they’re playing.
‘I think Arsenal have reached a level that means that the opponent always adapts to who they are.
‘When you arrive at that level it is because you are a good team and you have reached the level that you need to be champions. I have the feeling that Arsenal have got it this season.’