Manchester City fans hoping to see their team capitalise on Arsenal’s defeat to Aston Villa on December 9 where given a scare when it emerged that Erling Haaland would miss their game against Luton Town a day later.
Haaland, who set a new record of 36 goals in a single Premier League season in 2022/23, played in all of City’s first 15 matches of 2023/24. By early December, he led the Golden Boot standings with 14 goals and four assists, putting him ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
The news he would be missing the match at Kenilworth Road was a particular blow for City, who were on a run of four games without a win in the Premier League — something that last happened under Pep Guardiola back in 2017.
In the end, City came from a goal down to win the match 2-1 even without their talismanic forward, but they will certainly not want his absence to go on for too long, especially after their form took another wrong turn in a frustrating 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.
The Sporting News looks at the latest around Haaland’s status and whether he is carrying an injury that could see him miss further matches during the busy December schedule.
Erling Haaland injured: Latest on Man City striker’s foot injury
It was reported on December 10, around three hours before Man City’s Premier League match with Luton Town, that Haaland would not be in the squad for the fixture at Kenilworth Road.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein and Sam Lee said the striker would not be available for the game but did not initially specify the reason behind Haaland’s absence.
Guardiola later described Haaland’s injury problem as “a bone stress reaction in his foot”. This tallied with some reports on social media suggesting a potential stress fracture, although neither Man City nor their manager said the injury was as severe as this.
“After the last game against Aston Villa, he felt like this,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “I don’t know [if it looks bad]. Day by day, week by week, we see what happens.”
Speaking after the match, Guardiola clarified: “It’s not a fracture, just a stress on the bone.”
When is Erling Haaland back?
It is unclear yet when Haaland will return. Guardiola said the club would monitor the issue regularly before giving a prognosis.
Haaland sat out the UEFA Champions League match at Red Star Belgrade on December 13, which he would likely have done anyway given the title-holders had already secured their place in the knockout rounds and so did not need to win that game.
He was unavailable again against Palace before travelling with the City squad to the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
However, prior to the 3-0 semifinal win over Urawa Red Diamonds, it emerged Haaland would be undertaking a watching brief as he was withdrawn from the 23-man playing squad handed in to FIFA along with fellow injury absentees Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku.
“Erling still cannot train,” Guardiola confirmed after the match.
Following the Club World Cup final against Fluminense on Friday, December 22, City are back in Premier League action at Everton five days later.
Erling Haaland stats 2023/24
In all competitions this season, Haaland has scored 19 goals in 22 matches. Before the Luton game, he had played in every single Man City match in 2023/24, except for the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat away to Newcastle United on September 27, when he was an unused substitute.
As of December 19, Haaland had played 1,294 minutes of Premier League football in 2023/24. Among City’s outfield players, that places him behind only Kyle Walker (1,529), Julian Alvarez (1,415) and Phil Foden (1,337).
Erling Haaland goals 2023/24