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Erling Haaland's goals haven't made City's attack better, but the defence is much worse

The numbers suggest that Manchester City are actually not any better with Erling Haaland than they were without him.



Football journalist Jonathan Wilson joined The Football Show to discuss Erling Haaland and Manchester City.

Manchester City are second in the Premier League, five points behind Arsenal.

Arsenal also have a game in hand so they can move out to eight points clear at the top of the table if they win it. There are two massive surprises wrapped into one here. Arsenal were not expected to be as good as they have been and Manchester City were expected to be much better than they have been.

But even with Erling Haaland living up to his potential instantly, Manchester City are struggling to pick up points as consistently as in the past.

After 19 games, they have not scored more goals than they did last season but they are conceding more.

Jonathan Wilson explains:

"Look at them after half a season," Wilson started.

"After 19 games, they've scored 50 goals and conceded 20. Last season after 19 games they'd scored 50 goals and conceded 12. So in total last season they scored 99 goals and conceded 26. Fundamentally for all that Haaland looks unbelievable and looks unstoppable, he's got a lot of hattricks, four hattricks already and is being sensational...for all that they're scoring exactly the same number of goals as last season.

"But they're conceding more because they are having to play quicker forward to him and that's leaving them more vulnerable to the counter."

It's not that City would be better off without Haaland, but they clearly need to alter something defensively to account for the change in play style. And ultimately, Haaland wasn't signed to secure another Premier League title, he was signed to push them over the Champions League hurdles. Manchester City must win the Champions League. Haaland definitely helps that.

He will be a difference-maker in two-legged ties

"To an extend you sort of think it doesn't really matter. Because whether they score 100 goals in a season or 150 goals in a season is kind of irrelevant. What's relevant is how many goals they score in a quarter-final and semi-final of the Champions League.

"That's where they've been slipping up."

Pep Guardiola desperately wants that Champions League trophy. It rounds out the trophy cabinet for his time as Manchester City manager. With the rest of Europe offering few sleeping giants in the competition, it might be their year.

Haaland will be central to that if it is.

Gerrard and Lampard are warning signs for future managers

 

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