Why did Manchester City sign Erling Haaland? we will, who – which. And Pep Guardiola says that’s exactly what he told him when he was substituted after notching his first hat-trick in the Premier League.
With the hosts trailing 2-0 at Crystal Palace at the end of the first half, they needed a spark and… well, in fact, the others made it and encouraged Guardiola’s men to move on.
The difference between the two halves was that City were not in a hurry to get the ball to Haaland. In the first half, Joao Cancelo, Rodri and Kyle Walker seemed very eager to play the ball over the top and see what happened. The answer was nothing.
The cross from the outside went the same way and City looked disjointed. Post “How many touches does Haaland have?” Conversation looms.
Then the city arranged itself.
Athletic Tactics writer Ahmed Walid will explain exactly how, but in short, City stopped rushing things, Walker didn’t have to generate much play and so they ended up finding Haaland at the right moments.
And then it was all about him.
His first goal, the equalizer, is one of those goals you can’t really imagine scoring City in the past two seasons: quite simply, a big header in the penalty area.
It’s not the kind of goal Haaland has always scored. He was rather weak as a kid and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his manager at Molde as a teenager, was very rude about it. “You can’t even head,” Haaland said. “I was like, ‘Hell, I agree with you!'” “.
I’ve worked on it ever since. One of the most impressive aspects of this particular head was the movement beforehand, dropping slightly so that it could come back and attack it instead of staying where it had to connect from a fixed position.
Comes out a yard or so from here…
… to here…
… Mark Guiyi’s arm was also very expert.
At the point of contact, he went back inside the six-yard box.
“Finally, Phil played the ball for me,” he said with a smile afterward, referring to one or perhaps two passes from Phil Foden in recent games.
As for the second, probably any City player could have scored. They’ve got enough people on the offensive to take over sites like this, and they’ve definitely logged enough clicks over the years to make this fairly routine.
Had he just scored this, you’d probably say “yeah, good goal, good” and not think about it any more, but in the end he’s the only City player actually in the six-yard area while everything else unfolds; The only one taking up space relatively close to the rear pillar.
Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez had the typical quiet heads for good passes in the penalty area and John Stones was there to put the ball towards goal, but it was Haaland who really converted it.
As Guardiola said on Friday when talking about crosses and low crosses: “Erling is always there, he’s his biggest talent.” It’s where you want it to be.
The third goal, though, was really ingenious. The attacking midfielder played top-notch, as Alan Shearer certainly calls him.
Look at him claiming the ball from Ilkay Gundogan, who certainly didn’t need to tell him what to do, although the fact that Haaland had two spotters might dissuade him.
However, the presence of these two Palace defenders did not seem to make a difference in the outcome.
Haaland stayed on the blind side of Joachim Andersen, a feature of his goals with Borussia Dortmund, and checked the whereabouts of Joel Ward (behind him).
And when the ball arrived, Ward stopped as if to say, “You just don’t get that ball, my friend.”
He allowed one touch to control the pass and another to calm himself before picking his spot, ignoring Ward again as he did.
You know it’s a rough ending when the goalkeeper doesn’t even dive in. Look at Vicente Guaita – completely helpless.
who – which It’s the kind of goal you expect him to score for City and the most obvious difference Haaland can make. “We talked about it: he put the ball at his feet between the central defender. It was just the same at West Ham, how he used his body, and after the end… he put the ball in the net. He doesn’t shoot, he put the ball into the net, soft, Guardiola said. Left, faggot, as the ranger can’t save her.”
For a long time, City became unsure of himself in those positions, usually even failing to shoot on goal at all, but Haaland literally demanded the opportunity and expertly finished it.
In terms of how he stabilizes… none of his three targets were counterattacks! The third was somewhat transitional, but he came from City knocking it back until Foden, in a deep turn, turned the ball around the corner and found Gundogan in space to run forward. Kevin De Bruyne-Haaland’s supply line wasn’t running at all, City didn’t have open space to break into, and Haaland did just fine.
It’s also easy to believe that City may not have had enough to turn things around on Saturday without his new weapon.
It’s a shame Walker put match ball into the second division full time.
(Top image: Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)