Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Haaland and the “big games”

On Saturday afternoon, Erling Haaland played his ninth semi-final or final game in a Manchester City shirt. The Norwegian’s haul is alarming

The Premier League is regarded as the best league in Europe, and that seems pretty indisputable. Since Erling Haaland made the move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City in the summer of 2022, he has been top scorer in both seasons and the Skyblues have been crowned English champions for a third and fourth time in a row.

His 90 goals in a total of 98 competitive matches for the club alone make the criticism of the Norwegian, which comes up from time to time, seem strange at first glance. However, it is worth taking a second look. Because if you listen to the valid part of this criticism, which was heard loud and clear after the lost cup final against Manchester United, you will recognize approaches that are impressively underpinned by numbers

Foden scored the goals for the championship

Haaland would disappear in “big games”, according to those who do not necessarily see the 23-year-old as a solution to the long-standing problem of ManCity not having a classic center forward under Pep Guardiola. Because Haaland’s weaknesses mean that the structure lacks things that were virtually a given before. What’s more, it wasn’t just in the FA Cup final that Haaland went home without a goal after an unremarkable performance

In the championship showdown with Arsenal, when City took on West Ham, the serial champions “had” to rely on Phil Foden’s brace. Haaland did not score in the 3-1 victory over the Hammers, nor in the two quarter-final matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Even when City conceded a total of five goals to the Whites a year ago, none of them were scored by the Norwegian.

In his two years on the island, Haaland has played a total of nine semi-finals and finals for City – and has not scored a single goal. For a striker who regularly contributes only a manageable amount to Manchester’s impressive attacking play beyond goals, especially when compared to central City attackers of previous years, that is a worrying statistic. As many goals as he may score in the “smaller” games

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