The Norwegian star striker has hit the ground running in the Premier League, scoring six goals in his first four games to lead the early Golden Boot race.
But with just four days’ rest between games and the Champions League starting next week, Guardiola was tipped to see the visit of the newly-promoted team as a chance to take Haaland out of the spotlight.
In such a scenario, fellow summer signing Julian Alvarez was primed to step up – and yet both start. Jack Grealish is also pushing for a return to the squad after a knee injury but misses out, while Kevin De Bruyne is on the bench.
“When Erling doesn’t play, we are going to play Julian. That is almost sure,” Guardiola had said in the build-up. “We are really impressed with his pace, his sense of goal, the work ethic, for many things.
“I knew him a little bit on TV and clips but I am surprised how good he is. He’s so humble, always positive and every training session he gives everything. I like these type of players.
“The impact in the minutes he has played – he could have had a hat-trick at the Camp Nou and was involved in two goals in the last game – he has the sense of goals – we are delighted. I know people are talking about Erling and we are pleased but Julian is an exceptional player.”
Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are still sidelined for City.
Man City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Rodrigo, Gundogan, Bernardo; Alvarez, Foden, Haaland.
Subs: Ortega Moreno, De Bruyne, Gomez, Mahrez, Palmer, Gomes, Lewis, Knight, Wilson-Esbrand.