Man City boss Guardiola decides on Haaland facing Everton before Real Madrid tie

Man City boss Guardiola hails FWA Footballer of the Year Haaland

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has the small matter of deciding whether to risk Erling Haaland against Everton before their crucial Champions League clash against Real Madrid next week. The Catalan faces one of the biggest weeks in his spell as City boss with their Treble dream lying in wait, but with four games left to navigate in the Premier League and Arsenal hot in pursuit, Guardiola knows his side cannot afford to take their foot of the gas.

The Catalan, 52, has hinted he will continue to field a strong side as the leaders travel to Merseyside to face the Toffees, who are fighting for survival and will need no motivating for the crunch encounter on Sunday. And that could include 35-goal Haaland,

“We will see. We have five days, we’ll see,” Guardiola told reporters. “We’ll see the team today and tomorrow and then we’ll decide, there’s a lot of games too. There are players in the moment that are really important for us.

City can move four points clear of Arsenal with three games left of the season, but any significant injuries to Haaland or Kevin de Bruyne could prove to be fatal to their hopes of reaching their second Champions League final in three years. Express Sport looks at how City could line up against Everton with the latest team news.

Guardiola makes Haaland feelings clear after Real Madrid and Man City draw[LATEST]

Goalkeeper – Ederson

The Brazilian has not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since March 4 in the 2-0 win over Newcastle United and it might be an opportune time to take the 29-year-old out of goal to give Stefan Ortega some much-needed minutes.

City need their first-choice stopper to be fresh and in top form against Madrid, and dropping a clanger against Everton would only damage his confidence. Ortega, meanwhile, was an able deputy when he made his first appearance of the season in the league against West Ham and remarkably, has kept clean sheets in all of his last nine appearances.

Defenders – John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte

Stones would not want to miss out on the chance to visit his former club, having left the Toffees back in 2016 to join City, and he could start in the back three alongside Akanji and Laporte. Nathan Ake has recovered from the injury that kept him out of the side for their previous game, but the Dutchman may not be risked and could be saved for the clash at the Etihad on Wednesday.

That could hand Laporte a start on the left side, with Akanji shifting into the centre of the back three. Ruben Dias is another regular in the defence who is likely to be rested, with the Portuguese needing to be at his optimum to keep Karim Benzema quiet.

Man City fans may be left high and dry by UEFA’s Champions League final dilemma[INSIGHT]
Haaland backed for refusing to break ‘unwritten rule’ to leave Guardiola angry[REACTION]
Erling Haaland’s dad speaks out on being ‘kicked out’ of Bernabeu box vs Madrid[NEWS]

Midfielders – Rico Lewis, Rodri

Guardiola will have one eye on the Madrid clash in this department as Walker will need to rest those hamstrings for another long night against Vinicius Junior. Instead, the youthful Lewis will be tasked with executing the hybrid right-back and defensive midfield role alongside Rodri.

Kalvin Phillips has not made a single start this season for City and is unlikely to end that run with City still needing to win at Goodison to ensure they are not caught by Arsenal.

The England star has struggled for game time and throwing him in at the deep end may be viewed as an unnecessary risk.

Attackers – Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden – Erling Haaland

City’s depth and impressive bill of squad health means Mahrez, Foden and Alvarez could all come into the side, with Jack Grealish, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva handed a chance to rest up on the bench.

As for Haaland, the Norwegian is likely to start after Guardiola dropped a hint in answering a question about his fitness levels, with the 22-year-old gunning to set new benchmarks in the goalscoring charts.

On Haaland, he added: “He has a really intense game in Madrid, he could not have done that if tired. I would say yeah he is fit, he recovers well. It’s fine.”

Man City possible starting lineup (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Laporte; Lewis, Rodri; Mahrez, Alvarez, Gundogan, Foden; Haaland.

Source: Read Full Article