Premier League: Who can stop Man City goal-machine Haaland?

Scoring machine Erling Haaland is a monstrous talent and is making Man City's defence of their Premier League title look inevitable, writes John Roycroft.
Premier League: Who can stop Man City goal-machine Haaland?

 Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring the opening goal against Copenhagen on Wednesday night. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

AS IF his introduction to the Premier League wasn't dramatic enough, Erling Haaland's hat-trick for Man City in the derby against United certainly underlined his impact on the Premier League after just seven weeks of action.

His large stature and skill on the ball, see him cut a stark figure on the field of play. His style and effectiveness make him a scourge of defences and look almost unplayable.

Haaland has backed up his presence on the field with a list of statistics in a couple of months that many professional players would be proud of from a career.

One-man team?

The Leeds-born Norwegian striker has already chalked-up 19 goals from his 13 appearances, 14 of them in the league, since his move from Borussia Dortmund this summer. Last Sunday, his hat-trick against the neighbours was his third in successive home Premier League games. The first time it has ever been done by a Premier League player.

The 14 league goals under his belt already, means that his Premier League total already exceeds the career totals of such league luminaries as Luka Modric, David Platt, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Edinson Cavani, Mousa Dembele, and Samuel Eto'o, among many others.

The 22-year-old is averaging a goal every 45 minutes of play, which if continued over the season, could see him claim as many as 70 goals.

He has had 46 shots on target to add to his 19 goals, and while he was at it, he has also laid on three assists for his team-mates, including two to Phil Foden against United on Sunday.

So far, Haaland has been responsible for 26% of all Man City shots and over 48% of their goals.

Liverpool's Michael Owen celebrates scoring ta Champions League goal against  Boavista back in  2001. Erling Haaland has surpassed his record as the quickest to reach three Premier League hat-tricks.
Liverpool's Michael Owen celebrates scoring ta Champions League goal against  Boavista back in  2001. Erling Haaland has surpassed his record as the quickest to reach three Premier League hat-tricks.

When looking at the stats coming from him, one could be forgiven for thinking that these were the season records for a team. Indeed, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Brentford and the rest of the Manchester City squad are the only Premier League teams currently outscoring the blonde bomber. His teammates have outscored him in the league by only one goal, while fourth-placed Brighton have matched his 14 goals, so far.

Unsurprisingly, Haaland is the quickest player ever to reach three Premier League hat-tricks, in just eight games. The previous record was held by Liverpool's Michael Owen, who only managed it in a positively sluggish 48 games in comparison. Next best are Ruud van Nistelrooy, 59 games, Fernando Torres (64) and Andy Cole (65).

Haaland is both the fastest and youngest player to reach 20 Champions League goals, in just 14 games with Salzburg and Dortmund. At 20 years and 231 days old, Haaland was over a year younger than previous record-holder Kylian Mbappe.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Pep talk

Even Man City boss Pep Guardiola, whose managerial policy famously steered him away from signing outright strikers in favour of his Barca/Cryuff religion of total football that pushed a possession-centred '10-midfielder' ideology of football.

But with these results, and the early success of Haaland, it seems to have had an opinion-changing effect on Guardiola, who was full of praise for the young striker after the United game, “At his age, no one can compete with him,” Guardiola said. 

“The numbers speak for themselves and inside, in the locker room, and on the pitch we see things that are not in the stats that make us feel happy to have him here.” 

Suppose his observations are true, and there is no reason to doubt that Guardiola sees, even more, coming from Haaland. In that case, it will leave fans salivating in anticipation and defenders sweating buckets in fear.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates Phil Foden (left) and Kevin De Bruyne (right) during the Premier League match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.  Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates Phil Foden (left) and Kevin De Bruyne (right) during the Premier League match at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton.  Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Assistance

But of course, no one man is a team, and as brilliant as Haaland is, it also must be noted that the Viking-lookalike striker has been the perfect foil to one of the best passers of the ball in Kevin de Bruyne.

The Belgian has assisted on four of Haaland's league goals, laying on two in Sunday's derby win. And, scarily for opponents, there seems to be a growing connection between the two that was picked up on by Haaland himself in interviews after the game against United.

"I have only been at the club a couple of months, but the chemistry feels so natural. This may be the best part. It's natural, that I go on the run, and he finds me. When this feels natural, there is nothing better."

So not only does it require defences to track every move the Norweigen makes, they also have close down the mercurial manoeuvres of de Bruyne in midfield too.

Simple!

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more