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Ex-Liverpool player, Jamie Carragher, has suggested that Erling Haaland may have chosen the wrong club in Manchester City. The Norweigan currently leads the golden boot race with 25 league goals after striking fear into Premier League defenders all season but questions are beginning to be asked about whether City are a better team without him.
Haaland was a frustrated figure on Sunday as City lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur thanks to a goal from Harry Kane. The match extended City’s dismal record at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the Citizens now winless in five visits since it opened in 2019. The Citizens have also failed to register a goal at the stadium despite having 84 shots on goal across the five games they’ve played there.
Sunday marked the first time that Erling Haaland had played at the stadium, though, and City fans would have been hopeful beforehand that he was the man to break their duck there. Remarkably, though, the ex-Borussia Dortmund man failed to even touch the ball in the Tottenham penalty box in 90 minutes of action.
Haaland hasn’t been quite as prolific since the Premier League resumed after the completion of the winter World Cup. While he is still on course to break the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a 38-game season, he is beginning to look more frustrated with his teammates with each passing game.
27 touches for Haaland today, but not a single one in the box.
The first time that's happened in the league all season#TOTMCI pic.twitter.com/RJKtMwigtX
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) February 5, 2023
Is there more to come from Haaland?
Working on the game as a pundit for Skysports, Jamie Carragher commented after the game that Pep Guardiola’s style of football doesn’t suit the Norweigan. He said:
“I think we’ve only seen 60% of Erling Haaland. You think of the goal he got vs West Ham when there was space in behind and he gets in behind. He’s come from a counter-attacking league where it’s end to end. He might have picked the wrong club to actually get the best out of him.
City have scored the exact number of goals as last season. He’s got 25 of them but City have the same number overall. However, they’ve conceded more and are easier to counter-attack against now. They are a different – and lesser team – with Haaland in the team.”
Fellow SkySports pundit, Gary Neville, echoed Carragher’s thoughts. He said on his post-match podcast that he felt sorry for the centre forward because his teammates had been ignoring his runs all game.
Manchester City adaption is a unique challenge
Teammate, Kyle Walker, came out and defended Haaland after the game, pointing to the fact that pundits are only starting to question him now that City are dropping points. The England defender believes that adapting to a Pep Guardiola system is no easy feat. He said:
“It’s a process – he’s come to Manchester City and it’s a difficult team to fit into as the manager demands so much and the way please is unique. Erling has been fantastic – no one says anything he’s scoring goals and winning. All of a sudden now when we don’t win and he doesn’t score they say he’s a problem.
No one is complaining when he’s scored his 25th goal of the season. This is the team we’ve got now until the end of the season and we’ll fight until the end.”