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Erling Haaland is Failing in Top Matches. Is That Really the Case?

Erling Haaland is Manchester City's top scorer this season with 30 goals, but criticism of him is increasing. The issue lies in the top matches, where the Norwegian consistently falls short: in five encounters against teams in the top 4 of the Premier League, he has produced just one decisive action — a goal against Liverpool in the first round of the championship.

However, it's important to note that Haaland has shown his potential in the past. In the 2022-2023 Premier League season, he scored 5 goals and provided 3 assists in six matches against top-4 teams, leaving the field without a decisive contribution only once. His performances during his time at Borussia Dortmund are also worth mentioning: he scored five goals and made an assist in seven matches against Bayern Munich, demonstrating his ability to perform under pressure.

One reason for the decline is a worsening in finishing: whereas in the 2022-2023 Premier League season, Haaland scored 36 goals from an xG (expected goals) of 32.76, this season (2023-2024), he has scored 19 goals from an xG of 23.56. Erling scored fewer goals than he could for the first time in his career.

The absence of key players like Kevin De Bruyne and the departure of Ilkay Gundogan has significantly affected Haaland's performance. He had established a great understanding with them, and their absence has undoubtedly impacted his game. It's important to consider these factors when assessing his recent performance.

Published by Patrick Jane