Pep Guardiola isn’t worried about the prospect of a pile-up of fixtures later in the season. Manchester City’s game against Tottenham last weekend has been postponed after the Queen’s death and their trip to Arsenal on October 19 could be moved.
Indeed, Arsenal could postpone their postponed Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven for this midweek. With the World Cup set to halt the season for six weeks from mid-November, it seems unlikely that those City games can be played before the New Year. This could create a backlog in the second half of the campaign, but Guardiola doesn’t care about that at the moment.
“The Premier League has the ability to find [room for] matches,” the City manager said ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game at home to Borussia Dortmund. “Maybe the Tottenham game will be in February or March because now I think it’s not possible. We will find a way.
“There is the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup at that time but we will find a way. We will play this postponed game, it is not a problem. The meetings were always so tight every season.
Dortmund’s visit puts Erling Haaland facing a quick reunion with the club he left in the summer. The striker has had an astonishing impact at City, scoring 12 goals in eight appearances since his £51m move. Manuel Akanji was also signed from Dortmund in the summer and Sergio Gómez was there from 2018-21, although he spent much of it on loan.
“They know these players better than I know Dortmund players, that’s for sure,” said Guardiola, whose side beat Sevilla 4-0 in their Group G opener last week with two goals from Haaland. “They can get that advantage, but we’ll see [on Wednesday] whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage.
City midfielder Ilkay Gündogan, another former Dortmund player, has been impressed with Haaland since his arrival. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “He does very well on the pitch but his character, attitude and determination off the pitch are incredible.”