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In the aftermath of Sergio Aguero’s departure, Pep Guardiola played the 2021/22 campaign without a striker. Gabriel Jesus was consigned to the bench even when fit as Manchester City claimed their fourth Premier League title in five years.
On the European front, City succumbed to a semi-final defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in last year’s semi-final but made a mockery of Los Blancos in a revenge match. They dismantled the reigning Champions League winners 5-1 to book their place in the final. The Cityzens already have Premier League and FA Cup titles in the bag.
All of the has happened after they allowed Jesus to leave for Arsenal. In the background, the Catalan tactician added Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez to his roster. Neither has failed to impress but it is the Norwegian who has attracted the headlines with his goalscoring exploits.
Haaland has hit the back of the net 52 times in as many matches across all competitions. He broke the record for most goals in a Premier League campaign, etching his name in history books and City’s folklore.
Erling Haaland has been magic in the Champions League this season 💫 pic.twitter.com/fTHZlfKQct
— GOAL (@goal) June 9, 2023
Haaland’s Frustration with Man City
Despite his goalscoring antics, the towering striker has been criticised for his tap-ins and inability to stand tall in big games. Haaland does not mind that as he believes that’s how he helps City deliver results.
He revealed that he was frustrated watching City’s games last year because “no one was there” to score the chances. Moreover, Haaland acknowledges his ability to tap balls in and that he is proud of his ability to score from close range. The 22-year-old admitted that he wasn’t the one who would create chances, but he had a role in the team that was to help the team put the ball in the back of the net.
“It’s a good thing to be good at tapping balls in,” Haaland said in a conversation with Rio Ferdinand. “Last season, I watched so many times when crosses would go through the whole box and no-one was there. I was imagining myself being there and thinking I’d slide that in.
“I was thinking of that when I came here. I’m not the one that’s going to create chances but I have my role in the team. And that’s this (tap-ins). My job is to help the team put the ball in the back of the net.”
Haaland’s Silences Salah and Kane Comparisons
Such has been Haaland’s turnaround that Mo Salah and Harry Kane’s brilliant returns in front of the goal have been rendered as background noise. Salah finished with 30 goals for Liverpool while Kane had 32 to his name in the Spurs campaign.
Guardiola had earlier shared that Haaland has watched his rivals’ tapes to improve his scoring output. The Norwegian refuted the claims as he has his own mantra of getting the most out of his abilities. He has a carefree attitude towards his statistics and attacks the next game as it approaches.
It is incredible to score 52 goals in 52 games. Observing Haaland, what stands out is his use of energy/timing. He has exceptional timing of runs/movement to create space, reads body language cues around him, understands patterns of play, and teammates.pic.twitter.com/ZzlFpWyEEy
— Derek Ó Caomhánaigh (@ObsessFootball) June 9, 2023
“I don’t watch my games back at all, actually,” Haaland revealed. “I try to think of the next game, not too much about how I did and what I did wrong.
“I try to attack the next game. I did that a bit when I was younger but I was overthinking a lot so I stopped. I don’t watch anyone else’s (game tapes) as well.”
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