Despite Erling Haaland’s impressive scoring record since his arrival at Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund last summer, the team’s overall game has struggled, similar to Manchester United‘s struggles with Cristiano Ronaldo last season.

Erling Haaland may be scoring goals but Manchester City’s overall game is struggling much like Manchester United’s did with Cristiano Ronaldo last season.

Haaland scored 23 goals in his first 17 Premier League outings for City, but his goals have slowed down in the new year, with four goals from seven games. Nonetheless, he has already overtaken Sergio Aguero for the most goals ever scored by a City player in a single season, with 13 games left to play. Despite Haaland’s scoring prowess, City finds themselves second in the Premier League after 25 games, five points off Arsenal’s lead. Pep Guardiola has even had to explain Haaland’s negative tactical impact on the defending champions, stating that they share their faults together. Guardiola also alluded to the fact that Haaland was a club signing rather than a managerial one, as City won the Premier League last season without a recognised striker following Aguero’s move to Barcelona and subsequent retirement. They still managed to score 99 goals between them.

Ronaldo example

Manchester United’s experience with Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2021-2022 season is a similar example of a high-scoring individual not translating into team success. Though Ronaldo top-scored in the Premier League with 18 goals, United could only finish sixth, having been runners-up without him the previous season. While Ronaldo is undoubtedly a great player, it’s clear that United did not benefit overall from his presence, and they have looked worse this season since Erik ten Hag jettisoned him from the team. In contrast, Haaland remains a popular figure in the dressing room, as he was at Dortmund, but even Dortmund has enjoyed an upswing without him. Last season, they finished eight points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, but this season they are on the same points as the record champions, and the goals are now coming from everywhere. Dortmund is currently on the best run of form of any club in Europe’s top five leagues since the turn of the year. While Haaland is a prolific scorer, his influence may not necessarily be a net gain for City, similar to Ronaldo’s impact on United.

By Lylla

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