Erling Haaland, the record breaker. It’s official now. City’s Norwegian goal machine now holds the record for most goals in a English Premier League season.
He’d already surpassed Mo Salah’s 32 goals in a 38 game season, now he has surpassed Andy Cole and Alan Shearer’s record of 34 in a 42 game season, with his 35th Premier League goal of the season in his 31st Premier League appearance against West Ham at the Etihad.
Here I’ll pay tribute to the Nordic Meat Shield and his Premier League feats for his remarkable debut season for the blues, there will be time to go over the rest of Haaland’s season at the end of City’s quest on three fronts.
It’s fitting the record fell against West Ham, Haaland’s debut season of domination began with a debut brace against the Hammers at the London Stadium.
The hype for Haaland’s Premier League debut was huge, and to now look back now at the ridiculous and over top commentary on Haaland’s performance the week earlier against Liverpool in the Community Shield is now hilarious in hindsight.
Most of it bordered on stupidity by the media and certain YouTube “pundits” but the warning signs were there in Haaland’s official City debut against Liverpool in the Community Shield about what may come from the Norwegian powerhouse.
Haaland sent a massive statement of intent to the entire Premier League in his debut game away to West Ham, and the game featured the first glimpse of the De Bruyne to Haaland combination that has decimated Premier League defences at times this season.
Haaland’s Premier League debut was a moment that a goal scorer and predator the type never before seen in the Premier League had arrived.
Erling Haaland went from strength to strength after his debut. He took time to adapt to his new surroundings at the Etihad, but the goals kept coming as he adapted to his new surroundings.
Erling’s first hat trick came at home at the Etihad against Crystal Palace in a come from behind 4-2 win, the second half hat trick from Haaland was breath-taking.
Erling showed all the instincts he possessed to score a powerful header for his first to equalise, a tap in at a corner to give City the lead, and a show of the raw strength and pace to get on the end of a well placed Ilkay Gundogan through ball to add his third with a quality finish to complete a 4-2 win for City.
Three more hat tricks for the season would follow the debut hat trick, giving Haaland 4 for the Premier League season so far.
The three other hat tricks in the Premier League came against Nottingham Forest in a 6 nil win, a famous hat trick in his first ever Manchester derby in a resounding 6-3 win at the Etihad and another at home to Wolves in a 3 nil win.
There will be more hat tricks for Haaland in the Premier League in the future but 4 already this season is a remarkable feat, especially at the rate the first 3 were achieved.
As the season has progressed we have witnessed the progression of Haaland’s game under Pep Guardiola and the more the season has worn on the more impactful Haaland has been.
Early in the season Haaland was there to finish the moves, now he’s developing his game by joining in the link up play, and now running at the defence more.
His two assists for De Bruyne in the 4-1 demolition of Arsenal at the Etihad emphasised this fact and he capped that display with a well taken 4th goal to complete the rout.
Haaland’s game the past few months has developed at a rate of knots. He’s now more involved in the build up, he’s a target man for the long ball when required and he is also setting up team mates as emphasised against Arsenal.
He’s also taking on players more with the ball, so the sky’s the limit for what Haaland can become under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Of course Haaland can’t break the record without the service from his team mates. Full credit must go to the men who provide the service for Erling to thrive. Haaland has a almost telepathic partnership with Kevin De Bruyne.
Emphasised by the fact so many of Haaland’s goals have come direct from assists from City’s Belgian magician. It’s a breathtaking sight to see the connection between the two.
Haaland has also benefited up front from Jack Grealish and his outstanding form, plus the service he gets from Gundogan, Foden, Bernardo, Riyad Mahrez and others. Haaland’s record is a testament to his team mates.
The record is also a testament to Pep Guardiola and his ability to develop the current Manchester City side to fit Haaland in and have him thrive under Pep.
There was ridiculous talk of Haaland not fitting in, or making City a “worse” team or a certain pundits ridiculous call of Haaland choosing the “wrong team”. All that talk always has been, and is proven as nonsense.
Guardiola now has Haaland firing on all cylinders, and a major weapon in City’s arsenal. The thought of what Erling Haaland can become as a player under Guardiola in the future is a scary thought for every other Premier League side, and a tantalising one for Manchester City fans.
All in all it’s a superb achievement by Erling Haaland, and one that will rightly be celebrated. It’s a privilege to see Haaland play in a City shirt, and the sky’s the limit for what he can become and achieve in the future.
For now there’s more big games to come this season in all competitions, and moments where Haaland’s magic will be required. I’ll be eagerly anticipating what comes next from Erling Haaland and Manchester City this season and beyond.