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Haaland unlikely to face Crystal Palace but should return at Club World Cup

Erling Haaland is unlikely to be fit for Manchester City’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday, but Pep Guardiola hopes the Norwegian will feature at the FIFA Club World Cup next week.

Haaland has missed City’s last two games – a 2-1 Premier League win over Luton Town and a 3-2 UEFA Champions League victory against Red Star Belgrade – with a foot injury.

City welcome Palace to the Etihad Stadium for their final Premier League game before Christmas on Saturday, before jetting off to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Club World Cup for the first time.

Guardiola’s treble winners will face Mexican side Leon or Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in a semi-final in Jeddah on Tuesday, with a potential final to come three days later.

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Quizzed on Haaland’s condition at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “He will arrive today and we’ll see. The doctors will see him, and we’ll see how he feels. He’s had treatment away.

“Hopefully he can travel to Saudi, he can arrive tomorrow after the game and travel with us. Afterwards, we’ll see if he’s able to play the first game or just the second game.”

Asked whether there was any chance of Haaland featuring against the Eagles, Guardiola added: “I don’t think so. Maybe the doctors will tell me something surprising, but I don’t think so.”

Guardiola then played down fears that the injury could have any form of long-term impact on Haaland, who has 19 goals in 22 appearances for City across all competitions this season.

“It’s not structural, it’s just a stress [fracture],” Guardiola said. “Sometimes players recover from those quicker, sometimes it’s longer. The doctors say we have to take it day by day, week by week.

“At the moment he doesn’t have pain, he’ll be ready to play again.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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