What’s wrong with Haaland? 346 minutes without scoring for

Manchester City‘s poor form – three defeats in the last four games – has coincided with Rodri‘s absence through suspension… and Erling Haaland‘s goalscoring slump.

The former Molde, Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund player has gone three games without scoring against Arsenal (1-0), RB Leipzig (1-3) and Wolverhampton (2-1).

In total, he has gone 346 minutes without scoring. Since 23 September, almost a month ago, in the victory over Nottingham Forest (2-0), he has not scored for his club. A slump that Cristiano Ronaldo (40) has taken advantage of to overtake Haaland (39) as top scorer in 2023.

“I came here to win the Champions League… I said it and we did it,” boasted Erling Haaland in The Telegraph. The truth is that the start of his second season at the Etihad Stadium, despite being the top scorer in the Premier League with eight goals, has not been as brilliant as his debut.

“Sometimes it’s a bit stressful. I’m starting to get a bit tired of hearing my own name,” Haaland complained recently.

“It’s a good thing that people are more surprised when I don’t score than when I do. The Norwegian media when I don’t score headlines read: ‘No goals!’. That’s a good thing. I’m not complaining at all, because I signed for Manchester City to score goals.”

Is there any reason for Manchester City to panic?

The reality is that any drop in form from utter greatness will be greatly magnified. As previously mentioned, Erling Haaland is still the current top scorer in the Premier League, it’s just he set his own bar so incredibly high last term.

Haaland’s numbers in the first eight Premier League games:

2022-23 vs. 2023-24 season

  • Goals: 11 / 8
  • Minutes played: 575 / 709
  • Goals per minute: 52,27 / 88,62
  • Expected goals: 6.52 / 7.94
  • Goal Efficiency: 40.74% / 25% Goal Efficiency: 40.74% / 25% Shots: 27 / 32
  • Total shots: 27 / 32
  • Shots on target: 17 / 18
  • Shots inside the box: 24 / 32
  • Shots outside the area: 3 / 0
  • Great chances scored: 10 / 6
  • Great chances missed: 4 / 9
  • Touches of the ball: 156 / 174
  • Touches in the opponent’s box: 48 / 51

In the Premiers League it is more of the same. All of his numbers are worse than they were a year ago. He scores fewer goals (11-8) with fewer minutes played (575-709) and his efficiency, while still high, is noticeably lower (40.74%-25%).

His expected goal rate (XG) this season (7.94) is perfectly in line with the goals he has scored (8). Last season, by contrast, his league goals scored rate (11) was almost double (6.52) the goals he was expected to score based on the quality of the chances he generated.

Has Manchester City’s style changed?

There has been a significant change in Pep Guardiola’s midfield this term, not least with Ilkay Gundogan leaving for Barcelona and Kevin de Bruyne having a long-term injury.

With Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, the midfield is more built around runners making forward progress, which can crowd Haaland’s space and has forced him to change his own game.

13 of the 52 goals Haaland scored last term came from De Bruyne assists.

Pep Guardiola himself isn’t worried, instead electing to joke about the situation when quizzed on Haaland’s scoring drought recently.

“I won’t sleep tonight,” he quipped.

“My advice is not to criticize Erling too much. You can criticize the full-back, the center back or the coach, but never, never the striker who scores so many goals because Haaland will score again and then you will have to apologize to him.”

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