Guardiola confirmed during his press conference on Tuesday that Haaland will be included in the squad that welcomes Burnley to Turf Moor tonight (Wednesday). The Norwegian has been out of action since fracturing a bone in his foot almost two months ago.
Although City have coped well in his absence, Haaland is undoubtedly City’s dangerman and primary threat up top. The 23-year-old scored 52 goals in all competitions last season and he remains tied with Mohamed Salah at the top of this campaign’s Premier League scoring charts, despite his recent injury absence.
Concerningly for Arsenal and Liverpool, Guardiola has suggested that his marquee striker will return to the pitch in better shape then when he last hobbled off it, and with an added hunger to boost his tally for the season.
“For the first time he is back,” he said. “When we have everyone in the squad, we are stronger, definitely. Erling is an important player for us, definitely. Has been out for two months, it’s a long time, but he feels good.
“He’s been bored, and he wants to play. At the same time he has refreshed his mind. When he came back from summer, he was a little bit tired from the first season, having never played that amount of games and the finals we had in the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League.
“He was a little bit tired mentally. Now he’s like, ‘Wow, I want to play and help the team and score goals’.”
Nothing less than three points will do for City when the Clarets land at the Etihad Stadium. The Sky Blues are five points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, and the Reds will be desperate to fend off Guardiola’s challenge this term and give manager Jurgen Klopp the perfect Anfield send-off.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are level on points with City, but Mikel Arteta’s side have played a game more.
Ahead of a showdown with Burnley boss Vincent Kompany, who won two Premier League titles under Guardiola’s guidance, the City boss said: “I have a lot of respect for Vinnie.
“I know what he’s trying to do but sometimes the results are bad but the team is alive. They played really well at [Aston] Villa away and in the FA Cup at Spurs. We have to be careful. We will prepare as much as possible for the match.”