Erling Haaland: Man or Machine?

man city etihad stadiumIn recent years a man mountain of a forward has burst onto the European football scene with his performances and goals. That forward is Norwegian starlet Erling Haaland, who has already made a big mark at his new club Manchester City, just a few months after joining the Citizens.

Since joining City from Dortmund for a fee of around £51.2m, Haaland has blown away any doubts over whether he could be as prolific in the Premier League as he has been in other leagues. Haaland has scored 15 Premier League goals in just nine starts this season. The Leeds-born forward has also scored 20 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions.

One of the best players in the world

world best stampEven at the tender age of 22, Erling Haaland is regarded as one of the best players in the world. Some will say there are more technically gifted players in the game, but in terms of sheer impact on his team, there are few players in the game better.

In front of goal, Haaland is like a goalscoring machine. He is the classic penalty box predator who natural knows exactly where to be and when. However, there is more to Haaland’s game than just tap-ins. The youngster is almost the perfect striker, as he is quick, strong and pretty clinical in front of goal. Haaland is like the result of a mad scientist who has attempted to make the perfect forward.  The Terminator of Premier League defences.

Ironically, it may be a bit of a cliché, but for a big man, he doesn’t score a lot of headers, which may improve over time as he improves his game. That is maybe the only slight hint of criticism that can be levelled at the forward.

However, Haaland is famous for his willingness to work hard to develop his game. He is under the right head coach in Pep Guardiola to become an even better player, as the former Barcelona boss has improved some of the biggest stars in the world game. It is scary to think that Erling Haaland could get even better in future seasons.

Staggering numbers already in his career

ClubYears at clubAppearancesGoals
Red Bull Salzburg2019–20202729
Manchester City2022–Present1320

This season we have already got to the point where we are surprised if Haaland hasn’t scored multiple goals in every game he plays. Haaland has already scored three Premier League hat-tricks and two braces. He has also only failed to score in one of his nine appearances in the English top flight this season.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the Norwegian’s incredible numbers, as he has been producing those sorts of prolific goal returns for most of his career. The table above shows a breakdown of Haaland’s goalscoring records from each club.

The above charts show his progress as Haaland has improved. He was still a teenager at his first two clubs in his homeland, yet he still played in the first team. Both clubs obviously saw the youngster’s raw potential even in his early days. As he developed, his goal return has improved, and he has made the next step, and it seems his career has been carefully pathed out.

At Manchester City, he is now playing for one of the best teams in the world in one of the biggest leagues in the world. He is at the pinnacle of the game and almost finding it too easy to terrorise Premier League and Champions League defences.

Could break all sorts of records

record breaking

At the blistering pace that Haaland has started the season, the forward is set to break all sorts of records with City. The youngster has already become the player to score ten goals in the fewest games in Premier League history.

Alan Shearer and Andy Cole set the Premier League record for goals in one season in 1994/95 and 1993/94, respectively, when they scored 34 goals each. However, those feats were when the Premier League had 22 teams. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah holds the record for a 20-team season, which stands at 32 goals in season 2017/18.

Haaland is almost halfway to that goal tally. If he stays fit, then that record could be smashed. As we all know, football didn’t start in 1992 with the rebranding of the First Division to the Premier League. The record for the most goals ever scored in one single English top-flight campaign was 60 by Everton striker William Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean in the season 1927/28. Incredibly, Dean scored the goals in just 39 league appearances. Despite being commonly known as ‘Dixie’, the forward hated the nickname.

Many said that the record would be impossible to break and would never be broken. Even for a player of Haaland’s goalscoring prowess, that target may be too far in a heavily demanding 38-game Premier League season.

However, if Haaland continued at his current scoring rate, he would break that record. At the moment, Erling Haaland looks superhuman in his ability to score goals. He may not be a machine, but he is one outstanding goalscorer, and it would take a brave man to back against the Norwegian superstar breaking those Premier League scoring records this season, even if Mr Dean’s record stands for a while to come.

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