Fielding a strong Manchester City lineup against Burnley in the FA Cup may seem like an overkill. But Burnley came to the Etihad Stadium as one of the best teams in England. Vincent Kompany has led the Clarets to the top of the table in the Championship and promotion to the Premier League is all but secured already. So any team playing such a side in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup cannot take it for granted.
However, after netting seven goals in the Champions League against RB Leipzig, it would be understandable for Pep Guardiola to rest some of his key players like Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland for the FA Cup game. More so when some other players like Kalvin Phillips and Julian Alvarez are searching for game time. The City boss decided against taking any risk and fielded a strong team with Haaland leading the attack.
Although the Norwegian was withdrawn at the hour mark after having scored another hat-trick, the damage had already been done. One of the main reasons for keeping key players out of such relatively easier games is to prevent unnecessary injuries.
Haaland will now be out of action for some time due to a groin injury he sustained during the encounter. That was confirmed after he reported for national duty with Norway. He was subsequently sent home as a result.
“Erling Braut Haaland had some pain in his groin after the match against Burnley,” read a statement from the Norwegian national team.
“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia.
“It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club,” said national team doctor Ola Sand.
The big question now is how long he will be on the sidelines. With a crunch tie coming up against Liverpool at the beginning of April, Man City will need Haaland fit and ready to feature in the crunch tie. The same applies to other key players as the team approaches a crucial point in the season.
Fortunately, available information suggests it’s not a serious situation. Sending the player home is more out of precaution and a way to prevent the injury from becoming severe. With almost two weeks to rest and recover, the player should be ready to feature on resumption of club football.
So unless further tests at the Etihad Stadium reveal that the injury is worse than anticipated, this shouldn’t cause any worries.