Erling Haaland: 'Fourth-class player', it's right to play as a reserve!

Premier League Match Schedule 2023/2024 Premier League Rankings 2023/2024

Erling Haaland was not allowed to play a single minute by coach Pep Guardiola in Man City’s 4-1 victory over away team Aston Villa in round 31 of the Premier League. Replacing the Norwegian player playing highest on the Blue Man’s attack line is striker Julian Alvarez. Explaining his decision, Pep affirmed that he wanted the striker wearing the number 9 shirt to rest, in order to be at full strength for the fierce period ahead.

This is a move that attracted special attention from coach Guardiola. Because a few days ago, Haaland played very poorly in Man City’s 0-0 draw against away team Arsenal. The striker nicknamed “Ma Bu” was only given 3 points by Goal.com on a 10-point scale. Commenting on Sky Sports after that great match, former famous player Roy Keane criticized Man City’s “number 9” for playing like a football player. “Fourth-class player”, in which he especially emphasized Haaland’s limitations on the Blue Man’s playing style.

Notably, on the day Haaland had to sit on the bench for 90 minutes to be a reluctant audience, Man City’s attack played very sublimated. They hit Aston Villa’s net four times – the team currently ranked 4th in the English Premier League. That was the match in which young English star Phil Foden played sublimely with a hat-trick, while midfielder Rodri contributed 1 goal and 1 assist. Obviously, Man City doesn’t have Haaland’s services, no problem!

"Haaland

Man City’s attacking play against Aston Villa was smoother and more varied. They have more options to approach the away team’s goal, instead of mainly pushing the ball upward for Haaland as they did in previous matches. In particular, in the role of “number 9”, Julian Alvarez creates a very good connection with his teammates behind him – something that Haaland could not do, leading to being criticized by former midfielder Roy Keane as a “fourth-class player”. ”.

The statistics about Julian Alvarez in the match against Aston Villa “betrayed” Haaland. The Argentine striker launched 7 shots during the match, 3 of which forced goalkeeper Robin Olsen to save. His successful pass rate is also very high, specifically reaching 96%, including 2 “clearing” passes that were unfortunately missed by his teammates. Besides, Julian Alvarez often swaps positions with his teammates in attack, especially with Phil Foden.

On the day of the great victory over Aston Villa, Man City launched a total of 25 shots, including 11 times the ball hit the target. If they were luckier, they could have scored more than 4 goals against goalkeeper Olsen. As a reminder, in this match, the home team also had a situation where the ball bounced off Aston Villa’s goal post, after a shot by substitute midfielder Sergio Gomez. With what the home team’s attack has shown against coach Unai Emery’s team, should Pep consider leaving Haaland on the bench more often from now until the end of the season?

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Haaland was excellent last season, scoring 52 goals in all competitions to help Man City win the “treble”. This season, he is still the number 1 striker in the blue half of Manchester and is leading the list of “Top scorer” in the Premier League with 18 goals. However, compared to the 2022/23 season, the Norwegian player is only a shadow of himself. He is less sharp, has a weaker ability to “sniff” for opportunities, and has limited coordination with teammates… Haaland mainly “bullies” weak teams, leading to being ridiculed as a “player”. Small players in big matches.

Manchester City: Shirtless Erling Haaland shows off battle scars from Yerry  Mina clashes | Daily Mail Online

In fact, Haaland has recently had many physical problems, due to the effects of injuries. Combined with the pressure he has been under recently, Coach Guardiola’s decision to “put” the Norwegian striker on the bench is completely correct. Haaland needs a “quiet space” to reflect on himself, to know where he is and what adjustments he needs to make.

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