·5 December 2023
·5 December 2023
Dejan Kulusevski’s last-gasp equaliser condemned the reigning title holders to a third consecutive Premier League game without a win for the first time since April 2017.
Man City identified referee Simo Hooper as the main culprit for the frustrating outcome, while in truth, they had no one but themselves to blame for letting Arsenal and Liverpool leave them in the dust.
When Heung-min Son’s own goal and Phil Foden’s routine finish after an intricate build-up play overhauled the South Korea international’s opener, Spurs looked destined for a fourth league defeat on the trot.
Ange Postecoglou’s men have developed a nasty habit of turning early leads into losses, becoming only the eighth side in Premier League history to do this three times on the bounce before Sunday’s kick-off.
They were ready to roll over again. Completely outclassed by Man City’s high press and high-octane tempo in the first half, injury-hit Tottenham should’ve lost the game before half-time.
However, Erling Braut Haaland, of all people, threw them a lifeline.
Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner and the current season’s top scorer had a few clear-cut openings to put the London outfit out of their misery in the first 45 minutes but couldn’t convert any.
With the scoreline tied at 1-1, the 23-year-old, who hit the 50-goal Premier League milestone in record speed with a deadlock-breaking strike against Liverpool last weekend, astonishingly missed a sitter.
Unmarked on the edge of the penalty area, the Norway international got on the end of Bernardo Silva’s cutback yet somehow failed to hit the target despite being left with the goal gaping.
But it wasn’t the only chance he spurned. At 2-1, he latched onto a loose ball just outside the six-yard box, only to sky his wayward attempt into the stands.
Haaland’s incredible misses have prompted funny comparisons between himself and Liverpool ace Darwin Nunez, who had a fair share of horror moments in a 4-3 win against Fulham, on social media.
While the Reds supporters must have enjoyed the occasion, the former Borussia Dortmund talisman was on the verge of imploding down the final stretch as frustration boiled over in the dying moments.
Hooper’s infuriating decision not to award a late penalty to Man City ignited an angry reaction from home players, especially Haaland, who lost his temper, perhaps influenced by prior misses.
Although Haaland’s insane numbers in the Man City jersey speak volumes, there may be aspects suggesting that his effectiveness in front of goal doesn’t always match the lofty expectations often placed upon him.
Contrary to common belief, his ‘big chances’ conversion rate isn’t as good as many think. For argument’s sake, at 27%, he lags behind Stuttgart phenom Serhou Guirassy, who boasts an overachieving 42% ratio.
Every time he gets on the scoresheet, pundits race to say – ‘it’s just another day in the office’ – when in reality, he wastes almost as many chances as Nunez.
While Liverpool don’t strictly rely on the Uruguayan to score, as they also have Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz capable of packing a punch, Man City often depend on Haaland to finish the numerous chances they create throughout a game.
He often does, but given the high volume of created opportunities for him, you’d expect a player surrounded by such hype to do better.
That’s not to mention his tendency to disappear in high-profile contests.
If you don’t have time to review hours of footage to analyse Haaland’s misses in the Premier League, check Man City’s matches in the Champions League group stages.
A home game against Red Star Belgrade in mid-September would be a good place to start.