Erling Haaland has noted that he always anticipated scoring a lot of goals for Manchester City even though the Premier League is perceived to be the toughest league in the world.
In his first 10 games for City in all competitions, Haaland has scored 14 goals and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Norwegian has confessed that, although he is not surprised by the fact that he is scoring frequently for City, he did not anticipate to be nearly as productive so quickly.
What did Haaland say
“No one could have expected this start, we can say that in all honesty,” Haaland told Viaplay.
“But at the same time, you’re coming to Manchester City as a striker who loves to score, and has scored a lot. And Manchester City scored 100 goals the previous year. Of course I’m going to score goals. It should really be a given. I can’t really say this in front of a camera because it will create the wrong headlines and all that. In a way, I’m not surprised I’m scoring goals. But the fact I’ve scored 14 for City in the beginning of the season, and we’re not in October yet, I didn’t expect that.”
Haaland has been a machine ever since he left Borussia Dortmund in the summer. He surpassed the previous mark of 10 debut goals which was established by ex-Coventry City forward Micky Quinn when he scored his 11th goal in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, breaking the record after only seven games.
The Norwegian will want to keep up his strong play as City hosts United in a Manchester derby on Sunday.
Erling Haaland this season
The staggering forecasts say it all: If he keeps up his current strike rate and playing time, Erling Haaland will end the Premier League season with 60 goals; he would reach 64 goals if he plays every minute this season.
Haaland, 22, would score 84 goals in all competitions this season if he maintains those metrics and advances to the finals in every club competition, or 91 goals if he never gets hooked off. That is problematic for Manchester United, who will be in town on October 2 for the first Manchester derby of the season.
Haaland maintained his spotless streak of scoring or providing an assist at least once in every league game this season during a 3-0 victory against Wolves three days after his stunning winner against his previous side Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League earlier this month.
The 22-year-old has scored 11 goals in just seven Premier League games, and in all but three of those, he has been taken off early, missing 55 minutes of play. He scored back-to-back hat-tricks at the Etihad Stadium during victories over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest.
With a league ratio of 1.72 goals per 90 minutes resulting from those figures, he is more effective than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season who has played more than 126 minutes.
The Norwegian has, however, almost quadrupled his xG returns, scoring nearly five goals more than the 6.5 anticipated from opportunities offered to him – yet another league-leading ratio.
The fact that Haaland has a league-high 17 shots on goal and that his current goal total translates to one goal from every 1.5 shots on goal highlights his thus far precise finishing.
Haaland, unlike conventional City players, frequently shoots on sight, but usually from favourable positions. He recorded his solitary league assist thus far this season in the 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.
However, compared to other forwards, the 22-year-old averages significantly fewer touches, dribbles, and final-third passes, a shortcoming that City and other clubs would gladly swap for his high strike rate.
How has Manchester City fared this season with Haaland?
After surrendering points at Villa Park and Newcastle, City have a history of poor season starts, unlike Haaland’s blazing start at the Etihad. However, there are some indications that Guardiola’s team has altered their style slightly.
Averaging 3.3 goals per game, approximately one more goal than the previous season, City has increased their goals-per-game ratio to unprecedented heights in terms of pure attacking numbers.
However, practically all other important indicators are declining, including predicted goals and shots on target, emphasizing how Haaland’s outstanding play has compensated for declines in build-up play.
Intriguingly, City is also shooting almost the same number of crosses per game as they did last season and matching their through-ball attempts—two metrics many may anticipate would rise, to compensate, and serve Haaland.