·29 January 2023
·29 January 2023
There is surely no doubt who the individual star of the Premier League has been so far this season. Manchester City's acquisition of Erling Braut Haaland always seemed like it would be a major success, and that is how it has proved.
The Norwegian striker has netted 25 Premier League goals already this season, meaning he is nine goals ahead of Harry Kane in the race to win the Golden Boot. It's a lead that seems unassailable as long as he does not suffer a serious injury.
There have been some arguments that when Haaland is not scoring, though, City are a worse team for having him in the side as he limits the movement of the other attackers. We've decided to remove his goals and see where Pep Guardiola's side would be without Haaland's goals.
Incredibly, the former Borussia Dortmund man has scored in 14 of City's 20 Premier League games so far this season. As well as that, he has netted four hat-tricks in the first 20 matches, blitzing records left right and centre.
He has scored in big games, too, netting a hat-trick against Manchester United, a goal against Tottenham and one against Newcastle United. He also went on a seven-game scoring streak earlier in the campaign before his rate of scoring dropped slightly.
It is of course disingenuous to just remove Haaland's goals and label City as bad without him, because somebody else would have been in that position to score at least some of the goals. That person would likely have been Julian Alvarez who is no mug.
The Haaland goals have been vital to Guardiola's side this season and without them, the reigning Premier League champions would be in tenth place, level on points with Aston Villa and only ahead with a goal difference of +8.
City currently sit second in the Premier League table with 45 points, but without Haaland, they're tenth with just 28 points.
Haaland's hat-tricks have come against Crystal Palace in a 4-0 win, Nottingham Forest in a 6-0 win, Manchester United in a 6-3 win, and Wolves in a 3-0 win. There are only two games that City have won where Haaland has played and not scored. They were a 1-0 win over Chelsea and a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.
City have still won seven games this season even with Haaland's goals removed. They would have drawn seven and lost six.
Haaland did have something of a dry spell across the Christmas period and the beginning of January, but he appears to be back with a vengeance now. He netted against Spurs in a 4-2 win recently and then scored all three goals in a 3-0 win over Wolves in their most recent match.
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