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Pep Guardiola reveals fresh Erling Haaland fitness concerns ahead of crunch Arsenal and Real Madrid fixtures



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hinted at fresh fitness concerns surrounding striker Erling Haaland.

The 23-year-old was replaced by Julian Alvarez after 87 minutes against Newcastle United on Saturday evening, with the Norway international pictured holding his shoulder moments before being taken off at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland, who’s campaign has been impacted by injury issues, missed 12 matches for Manchester City between December and January due to a foot problem, ruling the striker out of Premier League and FIFA Club World Cup matches.

The striker returned from injury against Burnley in late January, and has scored 10 goals in 12 games since coming back from a two-month absence.

Haaland has scored 29 goals in 34 appearances for Manchester City so far this season, but looks unlikely to emulate last season’s record-breaking tally of 52 goals in 53 showings.

The Norwegian is set to feature in two upcoming international friendlies, before returning to the Etihad Stadium to try and help Pep Guardiola’s side retain last season’s historic treble.

City remain in all three competitions they won last season, with an upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie with Real Madrid and Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium next month.

The Sky Blues are also just one point behind both Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League title race, and host the Gunners at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 31st March.

Haaland could be a fitness doubt for the clash however, after manager Guardiola hinted following Saturday’s win over Newcastle that the 23-year-old was one of three current concerns for Manchester City.

“We need Kevin (De Bruyne), Jack (Grealish) and Erling (Haaland) to come back in the best possible conditions,” said Guardiola.

De Bruyne was forced to withdraw from Belgium international duty due to a groin injury, meanwhile Grealish was left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad as a result of continued fitness issues.

The Englishman was named in the Manchester City matchday squad on Saturday, but has seen his campaign plagued by a series of muscular problems.

City are also hopeful De Bruyne will be fit following the international break, with Guardiola already contending with the absence of goalkeeper Ederson due to injury.