It feels strange to say that Erling Haaland is out of form, but that might be the case. The Manchester City striker has scored one goal for his club in the past five games—a far cry from his carnivorous start to life in England.
His performance against RB Leipzig in the Champions League was a prime example of this. Pundits and fans alike pointed out how little of an impact the City star had on the game. Haaland only took one shot in this game.
Appalling by his standards.
On Football Saturday, former Republic of Ireland striker David Connolly and broadcaster Johnny Ward discussed how Manchester City could get Haaland firing on all cylinders once more.
‘I saw some clips on the TV about that, and you can’t lay the blame all on him,’ said Connolly. ‘He has scored bundles of goals regardless of who is behind him. However, there is a real frustration about it, though, because you feel he needs the ball just a bit earlier.’
‘There was a couple of times he had it against RB Leipzig. In other games, he could have had it a bit earlier. He needs it released in front of him. He needs it earlier. That’s the only thing I would say, you cannot pick that many holes in his game.’
‘I mean, I know Trent Alexander Arnold has received a lot of criticism recently, but if you go back to when Darwin Nunez scored against Newcastle the week before last. When Alexander Arnold picked that ball up and was sending it to Haaland, he would want it earlier. You just think he needs someone to play that longer pass.’
‘Whether that be Kevin De Bruyne or somebody else. I think he needs an earlier and longer pass. Apart from that, he will be back amongst the goals.’
FOX IN THE BOX
Johnny Ward then offered his insight into what could allow Haaland to return to form.
‘If you remember the game against Manchester United, he was unplayable. His goal at the back post was one of the best bits of athleticism you will see in terms of a player reaching for the ball.’
‘Fast forward a couple of months to where Manchester United are, and if you like at the body language of Haaland the other night, he looked frustrated. Manchester City can sometimes be guilty of overplaying the ball in terms of constantly passing it.
‘He had a very decent chance when it was 1-0, and he sent it badly wide. I think his body language cut a frustrated figure. He has created an awful lot of hype from his ridiculous goal-scoring record, but at the moment, I think it will be difficult for him and City. Maybe he will get back on track, but for me, Haaland is not a brilliant footballer outside of the box.’
‘He has to have something to run at. He had a poor game against RB Leipzig. Haaland is so quick, so teams are sitting back, and it is hard to break them down, so, therefore, is not getting the ball.’
Haaland will look to return to scoring wheelbarrows of goals against Bournemouth on the 25th of February at the Vitality Stadium.
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