Manchester City Updates: Haaland Sidelined, De Bruyne Eyeing Starting Role Against Newcastle


On Saturday night, Manchester City is set to take on Newcastle at St James’ Park in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola, the City boss, has affirmed that striker Erling Haaland will remain sidelined until the end of January. Both John Stones and Manuel Akanji will be unavailable, but there’s a possibility of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne making a starting appearance for the reigning champions.

Erling Haaland’s absence will extend until the close of January for Manchester City, yet the Premier League champions receive a boost as Kevin De Bruyne is set to start against Newcastle. Haaland, sidelined since early December due to a foot injury, has missed the team’s last eight games across all competitions.

Manchester City had initially aimed to reintegrate the 23-year-old into the squad early in the new year. However, the issue has proven more challenging than anticipated, and the player has not yet resumed full training.

The current anticipation is that he will be ready to return to training as the club, with no fixture scheduled for the following weekend, embarks on a warm-weather training camp in Abu Dhabi after this Saturday’s game against Newcastle.

Guardiola mentioned, “Yes, he’s been experiencing some minor issues with his feet. While it’s not a major concern, the medical team has opted for a one-week break, with plans to potentially resume activities in Abu Dhabi.

We’re optimistic that he’ll be ready by the end of this month. The recovery process has taken a bit longer than initially anticipated.

“It involves the bone, and time is essential. Despite all efforts, the healing process is a matter of time with injuries like these.

In an exceptional debut season with City, Haaland found the back of the net 52 times last year. This season, he has already added 19 goals to his impressive tally.

Guardiola expresses the significant absence of his striking force, stating, ‘We sorely miss Erling. We need him back, and hopefully, he can return for the last four or five months without any setbacks. Being sidelined from the end of November, missing numerous games, is undoubtedly the most challenging period.’

In another setback for City, defender Manuel Akanji is set to spend time on the sidelines. The Swiss international had to exit early in the FA Cup triumph over Huddersfield last weekend after a robust challenge.

Adding to the injury concerns, he joins center-back John Stones on the list of casualties.

Guardiola explained, ‘He will be out for several weeks. Although not a major issue, it is expected to last until the end of the month. Fortunately, we have a break of 10 days without matches after Newcastle. We’ll assess their condition during the warm weather in Abu Dhabi.

Providing a positive update for City, Guardiola confirmed that influential midfielder De Bruyne is now in the running to start at Newcastle, having successfully recovered from a prolonged hamstring injury.

The 32-year-old Belgium international initially suffered the setback during the first half of last season’s Champions League final victory against Inter Milan. He then re-injured it during City’s Premier League opener against Burnley in August, enduring just 23 minutes on the field before undergoing surgery.

After a much-anticipated wait, De Bruyne made his comeback as a second-half substitute in City’s 2-0 triumph against Sheffield United at the Etihad on December 30. Additionally, he came off the bench in the club’s recent FA Cup third-round victory over Huddersfield Town.

Confirming the possibility of De Bruyne starting at Newcastle, Guardiola stated on Friday, ‘Yes, he may start. Based on what I observed yesterday [Thursday], I am optimistic. He has had valuable minutes in training.

Currently on an upward trajectory, he will enjoy a few days off after this game and subsequently train in Abu Dhabi to ensure his readiness for the upcoming months.

As Manchester City prepares for their Saturday night fixture in the northeast, Guardiola cautions his players against underestimating the challenge ahead, despite Newcastle’s recent struggles and a growing list of injuries.

“It has consistently been a tough match, particularly since Eddie Howe took charge,” remarked Guardiola. “We’ve encountered each other numerous times during his tenure at Bournemouth and now at Newcastle. We share a competitive history.”

City approaches the Newcastle clash with the aim of narrowing the gap with table-toppers Liverpool. A victory in this fixture would bring the champions within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Guardiola is confident that his team has bounced back from a previous hiccup, where they drew three consecutive league matches at the end of November and early December. The Catalan manager believes that Manchester City can clinch an unprecedented fourth consecutive top-flight title this season.

“Currently, yes [City can defend their title],” asserted Guardiola. “With around 18 or 19 games remaining and only five points behind, it’s statistically achievable.

“We aspire to build a lasting legacy and dynasty. Is it a realistic goal? It’s a bit distant at the moment, so I can’t say for certain.

“We haven’t had the mental space to recover from the Treble victory. I believe the Club World Cup provided us with a chance to reignite our momentum.

“Already this season, we have secured two titles. Presently, Liverpool is displaying exceptional form, enjoying one of their best periods in many years.


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