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OPINION: City’s Haaland is in a league of his own

Manchester City striker Erling Braut Haaland is ripping up the record books in terrifying fashion this season in the English Premier League.

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When he joined Manchester City, it was expected that the Norwegian powerhouse would add a fearsome new dimension to Pep Guardiola’s attack. But it is safe to say that none could have predicted the kind of eye-popping statistics that the 22-year-old has racked up.

Perhaps the most ridiculous of all came this weekend, as Haaland was the chief contributor to City’s Manchester derby demolition of Man Utd. In a 6-3 win, a scoreline made only slightly less embarrassing for United by a couple of late goals, Haaland bagged a third consecutive home hat-trick in the English Premier League, to go with two assists.

It has now taken him just eight EPL games to reach three hat-tricks. The next best is Michael Owen, the prolific Liverpool and England striker, who took 48 matches to rack up three hat-tricks. Who knows exactly how many goals Haaland will end up with this season, but at this rate he is on target to smash all the records in the book.

He already has 14 goals in eight EPL matches, putting him eight clear of Tottenham’s Harry Kane, and has three in two Uefa Champions League games.

That makes it 17 goals in 10 games in all competitions, wiping the smile completely off the face of any opposition fans who mocked him after a bad miss in the Community Shield.

Haaland seems to be fitter than ever, and past the muscle injury problems that at times kept him out of the side at Borussia Dortmund (He still scored 29 goals in 30 appearances for Dortmund last season).

And while he will be missed at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar next month, with Norway having failed to qualify for the global showpiece, that could be even more ominous news for the rest of the EPL, with
Haaland set to be fresh and raring to go when the league resumes on Boxing Day.

Arsenal have to be given immense credit for setting the pace at the top of the league this season, but ultimately, especially with Liverpool stalling under Juergen Klopp, it is hard to see anything other than Guardiola’s side running away to a third-straight title.

The Gunners look to have finally found their mojo under Mikel Arteta, but do not have even close to the squad depth at Guardiola’s disposal. Julian Alvarez, who came off the bench on Sunday again, would have to go far more than one league start, it is safe to say, were it not for Haaland’s absurd form. And

Riyaad Mahrez would probably walk easily into the first team of any other EPL side. Kevin De Bruyne can create goals for anyone, and appears to have already reached a telepathic understanding with Haaland, while Phil Foden looks to be hitting top form, also grabbing a hat-trick in the Manchester derby.

Some questioned why City sold Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to rivals Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of the new season. Yet while Jesus, and to a slightly lesser extent Sterling, have made fine starts at their new clubs, City have improved without them.

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