Pep Guardiola hinted that Manchester City will be ready to play Arsenal in Wednesday’s Premier League match with or without top striker Erling Haaland. Haaland suffered a slight knock during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa, leaving him a doubt for the midweek trip to the Emirates Stadium. “Right now I don’t know,” Guardiola said when asked if the Norwegian international will play against the Gunners. “We will have to see over the next few days. He got a knock and was uncomfortable so at 3-0 up we didn’t want to take the risk. We will assess him and if he’s not ready we will play someone else. Hopefully he is ready.” Considering Guardiola’s ability to play a number of different fluid systems, most fans have been left unsure on what the Spaniard will do if he is without his talisman for the journey to north London. However, the former Barcelona boss may have already revealed that it will be Julian Alvarez to play through the middle if Haaland is absent. “What is important is that he doesn’t have niggles. Last season he didn’t play 90 minutes because he was injured. The physios and doctors did an incredible job since he arrived to avoid injuries. “Now he has one game a week. I tell you now when we have games every three days that Erling will not play, I will play Julian [Alvarez]. One of my favourite players is Bernardo (Silva) and he did not play until today. “Riyad is by far one of my favourite players – especially on the biggest stages – and today he didn’t play. When we start with games every three days, everyone is going to play.”
Alvarez may very well play as a No.9, with the Argentine playing in a deeper role against Villa on Sunday. Similarly, Silva is unlikely to play the same position as he did over the weekend, having been utilised as a makeshift inverted left-back – something that would be much more difficult when faced up against Arsenal right-winger Bukayo Saka.

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