Erling Haaland doesn’t need to touch the ball to score in every game

Erling Haaland shows no mercy. Against Borussia Dortmund, the Norwegian ‘9’ invented an acrobatic shot, which reminded him “to the incredible goal of Cruyff against Atlético de Madrid” to Pep Guardiolawith which he knocked down his exes (2-1).

A blow of lethal ‘kung fu’ for the ‘borussen’ with which he reached the 13 goals in eight games between Premier and Champions in his first season at Manchester City.

A superhuman effectiveness (he accumulates a goal every 49 minutes and 1.46 shots on goal) and an insulting physical superiority over the central defenders to which some put a ‘but’ for getting little involved in the ‘sky blue’ game.

The two passes (assistance and center kick) and the eight balls that passed through his boots against Bournemouth (the only English League match in which he has not ‘wetted’) flooded social networks and made the criticism begin to count the shipments you complete per duel. A winger that does not matter to Pep.

In what is becoming something of a routine, Erling Haaland once again scored for Manchester City during their last Champions League game against former club Borussia Dortmund.

Already known for his prolific scoring record, Haaland was able to find yet another novel way of scoring when his acrobatic kung-fu-style kick found the back of the net.

However, despite his fearsome hit rate, the Norwegian forward has come under criticism for not being as involved in a game as some of his teammates. Despite City’s possession based style of play, Haaland, according to statistics from Opta, has touched the ball just 132 times (22 on average per match) and provided 77 passes (12.8).

For comparison, some of rivals such as Gabriel Jesus, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane average 53.3, 47.6, and 41.8 touches per game respectively.

There is a similar theme that emerges in Europe with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski averaging 64.5 and 48.5 touches per game respectively.

Despite this, Haaland is the Premier League’s leading scorer and is tied at the top of the Champions League charts with Mbappe and Lewandowski.

 

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Guardiola Unconcerned

Pep Guardiola, however, is unconcerned by this fact. The Spaniard also believes City are developing a new style having previously played with a false nine last year.

“We have to adapt. Sometimes I have the feeling that he is not involved in the game… but he is always there. He may not touch the ball, but he appears. He has an incredible sense of scoring goals,” Guardiola stated.

“In the past, with a false ‘9’, it was different. But now we have Erling there all the time and we have to go past him and look for him. It’s a matter of time before we find him.”

Haaland even less bothered

The forward is even less concerned by the criticism stating his ultimately wants to score five goals in five touches during a game.

“I’m always focused,” Haaland said.

“People talk about how I don’t touch the ball enough, but I don’t care. I know what I have to do and what I’m going to keep doing. My dream is to touch the ball five times and score five goals.”

The fact remains that if Haaland continues his goal scoring run he may very well end up smashing the Premier League record for most goals in a single season with his current hit rate projecting him to score 66 goals this season!

Haaland now has 13 goals in nine games to start the season and his astonishing return is even more impressive considering how little the 22-year-old touches the ball.

But that’s a huge benefit of his play according to former Arsenal winger and talkSPORT host Perry Groves, who says not all forwards have the confidence to keep waiting for the ball to come to them.

He explained: “Everybody keeps highlighting he only had 11 touches or only had 12, but nine times out of 10 he scored one or two so it doesn’t matter how many touches.

“He doesn’t go looking for it, he doesn’t go out to the wings, he doesn’t drop deep, you know when you’re searching for it to get involved and all of a sudden you go ‘where’s your centre forward?’ so he’s got that inner belief.

“We spoke off air about when I was playing with Wrighty, Ian Wright, when he came to the Gooners, he used to, in games, if he’d missed a chance, he’d be running round verbally being a pain to the centre halves.

“[Wright would say] ‘I’m gonna score in a minute, don’t let me have another chance, I’ll score’ he’d be slaughtering the wingers, having a go at the midfield, ‘get the ball in the box’.

After a remarkable start to his time in England, it would be easy for complacency to creep in for Haaland.

However, that does not appear to be a problem for the striker, who has said that he is remaining focused, with City quickly back in action against Wolves on Saturday.

‘I’m soon going to think about Wolverhampton because that’s how my brain has to be,’ he explained.

‘I have to focus on the next things, I have to focus on the right things because if I think too much I don’t think that it’s a good thing.’

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