The best player in the world at the moment, Erling Haaland, has elevated Manchester City from a solid squad to one that can dominate the competition this season. Just look at Manchester United, who was defeated 6-3 at the Etihad on Sunday as a result of another hat trick by Haaland. If you are looking forward to the World Cup and other big sports events and want to bet, then check out our best sports betting casinos.
On a great day for Pep Guardiola’s club, Phil Foden also scored a hat trick, but Haaland, the £51 million summer addition from Borussia Dortmund who is tearing through Premier League defenses like a teenager playing against 9-year-olds, once again stole the show. The 22-year-old Haaland has 17 goals in 11 games for City across all competitions and 14 goals in the Premier League this season, which is more than 14 other teams in the league. This includes hat tricks against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, and now United in back-to-back home games.
Haaland can now boast that he has scored as many Premier League hat tricks (three) in his career as Cristiano Ronaldo, underscoring just how significant an impact he has had thus far while wearing a City jersey. After only eight games, Haaland has matched the United forward’s position. The quickest player to record three hat tricks in the Premier League was Michael Owen. For Liverpool, it took him 48 games to get his third goal, so Haaland is just shattering records that were supposed to stand for decades.
The fact that Ronaldo sat on the United substitutes’ bench for the entire 90 minutes as Haaland destroyed his team has a bittersweet quality to it. Ronaldo has shared the title of finest player in the world with Lionel Messi for more than a decade, but after viewing Haaland up close at the Etihad, the 37-year-old will now understand that the mantle has firmly passed to Haaland.
Guardiola recently added in a statement: “What Erling is doing, he has done in Norway, Austria, and Germany, that’s the reality. The quality we have alongside him, it helps him score goals.
Even though Kylian Mbappe has only scored 11 goals in 10 games for Paris Saint-Germain this season, he is arguably the only footballer who might contend that he should be ranked higher than Haaland as the best in the world. When compared to Haaland’s numbers, his are insignificant.
In the next years, Haaland and Mbappe will rule the international arena much as Messi and Ronaldo did in the previous ten years. Although neither team has won the Champions League as of yet, it would be a fairly safe bet to predict that one or both will do so shortly.
Haaland’s absence from the World Cup this year owing to Norway’s failure to qualify is merely a major disappointment for football; Qatar’s World Cup will undoubtedly be lacking without its best player.
However, Haaland and City will most certainly improve this season as a result of his World Cup absence. He will be taking a break and getting ready to play again, fresher than the rest, in the second half of the season, while his competitors are expending physical and mental energy in Qatar.
For City’s competitors, it is a worrying possibility. Even if they are still behind early leaders Arsenal in the title battle, they were already the finest team in England before Haaland joined, so it only seems a matter of time before Guardiola’s juggernaut climbs to the top and pulls away before vanishing over the horizon.
This season, United was the first member of the Big Six to take on City and Haaland. Before the derby, it might have been argued that Haaland’s stats had been inflated by a slow start to the season and that the first significant test would reveal more about his skills.
However, following United’s 6-3 humiliation, we have a good idea of what is happening, and it is the same as it was before: Haaland is practically unstoppable. He moves with great power, speed, and agility. He can enter spaces that most strikers don’t see since he also possesses a true goal-scoring instinct. When Haaland snuck in at the far post to finish Kevin De Bruyne’s cross for his second goal against United, it was a prime example of him seeing an opening that others would have missed.
Haaland was an unstoppable force for United, but Foden was just as powerful and destructive to Erik ten Hag’s club. Haaland and Foden seem to have gotten along well right away at City, as seen by their comprehension of one another’s runs around the penalty area.
Given his propensity for creating opportunities, Haaland might have scored five goals to mark his first Manchester derby. While United avoided punishment, another team will have it worse. Sergio Aguero, Alan Shearer, and Andy Cole are among the few players to have scored five goals in a Premier League game, but Haaland will be the first to score six.
United’s painful reality is that they were close to signing him three years ago. However, the United administration refused to approve a buyout clause in Haaland’s contract, and he instead departed FC Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund when former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought he had a deal for the player he gave a debut to as a teenager at Molde.
It appeared that United had made a bad choice, and on Sunday, it definitely did. It most likely won’t be the last time either.