Manchester City‘s Premier League title challenge has received a boost with Erling Haaland set to return to action against Southampton on Saturday following a groin injury.

The 22-year-old has missed three successive matches for club and country over the past few weeks since scoring a hat-trick during City’s 6-0 thrashing of Burnley in the FA Cup on 18 March.

City coped well without their leading goalscorer beating Liverpool 4-1 at the Etihad, but Norway struggled losing 3-0 to Spain and drawing 1-1 with Georgia in their first two Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Pep Guardiola will be keen to have a full squad to pick from as his side look to whittle down Arsenal’s eight-point lead at the top of the table. City have a game in hand and will host the Gunners at the Etihad on 26 April.

City gave supporters and Fantasy Premier League managers alike hope by posting pictures and footage of Haaland in full training on Thursday and Guardiola has since confirmed that the striker is “ready” to play at St Mary’s.

“Erling trained the last two days, really good,” Guardiola said. “He will be ready.”

Guardiola also played down the likelihood of managing Haaland’s minutes against the Saints ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

“Bayern is our last thought it’s Southampton – the Premier League is every day, every week,” he said. “[It] Depends on that.”

Haaland had been in phenomenal form prior to suffering that injury setback, scoring nine goals in three matches, including a record-equalling five times in City’s 7-0 destruction of RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

The Norwegian’s overall record since joining City from Borussia Dortmund for £51m last summer is remarkable as he has scored 42 goals in only 37 games for the club, a total which includes six hat-tricks.

Haaland’s return good news for FPL managers

FPL managers who sold Haaland due to doubts over his fitness and last week’s double gameweek are hastily looking to transfer him back in following Guardiola’s comments.

Haaland is currently the fourth most-bought player this week, behind Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins, City midfielder Jack Grealish and Arsenal defender Ben White.

He could soon rival Watkins for top spot, however, with this week’s deadline at 11am on Saturday.

Haaland is one of three forwards named in i‘s best team for Gameweek 30, alongside Watkins for Villa’s home game against Nottingham Forest and Harry Kane who faces Brighton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Head here for the rest of i‘s FPL picks this week.

By admin