After five match days in the Premier League, Erling Haaland has already broken his first record scoring nine goals. Not surprising many of us who knew what he was capable of, but also serving a bit of humble pie who made cases against him or labelled him a flop. So how is he actually working under Pep Guardiola, how is he scoring his goals and is there anything you can do to defend him?
If you want an analysis of how I thought Haaland would’ve fit pre-season, you can read that below and I greatly recommend you reading it before the following article as I’ll be referencing from it.
Erling Haaland to Manchester City analysis: The should’s and could’s
It has finally been confirmed that Erling Haaland will be heading to Manchester City come July. This has been met with…
How is he currently being played?
So in the prediction of how Haaland would be used by Pep Guardiola, I said that Guardiola could re-use an old concept from his time at Bayern where the striker occupied the space the between the full-back and the centre back instead of both centre backs. Combined with his speed, this positioning improves the angles on where he can attack the depth. And many shots are being created in this way by Haaland in this City team too, with one goal coming from this.
While he hasn’t been successful in converting many of his shots in the above, the common theme of the goals he has scored is that they’ve come from him attacking the weak side (opposite of ball-side). A typical pattern is that City plays the ball over the 22-year-old or past him which causes the defenders to turn around in order to see the ball. In this phase they lose sight of Haaland, who in turn breaks loose from his man and- as space awareness and losing his man are some of his key strengths- gets into a goal scoring position. You will often find Haaland trying to work off the back of the defender and Man City’s way of involving him (by playing past/over him) makes this technique even stronger and very difficult to defend as we will see below.