Manchester City and Erling Haaland had not anticipated the striker’s extended stint out of action this season with injury.

Despite missing time, the Norwegian striker has scored 14 goals in the Premier League thus far this season. However, if the prolific ace could avoid the treatment table, he would have most certainly netted more.

The Citizens’ bad record and his absence have coincided. However, they did recover to defeat Everton in their second-to-last game of 2023.

Their depth of roster and Julian Alvarez’s performance in Haaland‘s absence make them capable of handling most situations. However, any team would be troubled by the loss of both the Norwegian and Kevin De Bruyne simultaneously.

How many games has Haaland missed so far?

City haven’t fielded an attacking threat with Haaland since their 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in early December. Because of the hectic schedule this month, he has missed six games in all competitions.

Two of those matches were fortunately for them—the Club World Cup and a UEFA Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade. Healing from his bone stress response in his foot is taking more time than anybody associated with the club would have preferred.

The injury has kept the Norwegian striker out of the previous six games for the Sky Blues, including their meeting against Everton this Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola has now excluded Haaland from the league match the last game of the calendar year, against Sheffield United. Thus, the number of games the 23-year-old has missed so far will increase from six to seven.

When will he return to action?

The major issue, according to Pep Guardiola, is when Haaland’s discomfort will go away; he’s hoping to return by January.

“He’s training a lot but not with the team yet. Kevin is with the team. Erling not yet but feels better”, Guardiola told the club’s official website. “It’s not a stress or fracture but a question on when the pain will disappear. Hopefully [in January he will be back].

“He has a stress, the bone is fit but painful. He’s not like [Phil] Foden who is small and skinny, Erling is huge so it’s difficult at times. He’ll be fine, and when he is he’ll be back and play. The doctors come every morning and say, ‘This player is available and this one is not.’ Until then, I create the team and we play games.”

As a result, Haaland will not be available for the encounters against Sheffield United and, most likely, Huddersfield Town in the opening FA Cup match of the season. His availability for January 13’s match against Newcastle United is also in doubt.

City would want to maintain their position in the top four and put some space between themselves and the mid-table clubs who are following them. Thus, this game will be pivotal.