Erling Haaland to Manchester City: How can Pep Guardiola change his tactics to utilize the star striker?


Nothing is certain about a football transfer. In fact, all you need to do is peruse the list of the most expensive transfers in football history to come to the conclusion that the correlation between fees and field success is minimal at best.

Perhaps that will help. Erling Holland will not occupy such a sparse stratosphere as Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho And Eden Hazard. City are paying more than half the price paid by players of over $100 million in a deal that ensures that most of the money Haaland and his advisors paid for the player’s services goes to Haaland and his advisors.

With a transfer fee of $63 million, substantial agent fees and around $450,000 a week, City secured a striker per game years after the 22-year-old’s heyday. Here are some diamonds you can still do with a little polishing. A diamond that could be the jewel of the crown for a team approaching their fourth Premier League title. Pep Guardiola is coping well without a classic striker. Now he has one of the best in the world.

Manchester City are not without goals without Haaland. This season, they have scored 145 goals in 56 games and are in the process of closing the campaign with a three-digit goal difference gap. How many games this season have you had your head down on, often referred to as the lack of a central striker? Probably lost to Tottenham with a number of crosses flashing. Hugo Lloris‘ 6 yard box? One might argue that they lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, but this Riyadh Marez The finish quality is lacking (Algeria have surpassed the expected goals in all of their last 5 Premier League seasons).

Haaland will help them increase these goal returns or at least explore ranges outside the range of possible goalscoring for one team. He can adapt to Guardiola’s system more easily than he thinks. At the age of 21, he has a supernatural understanding of how to manipulate defenses and can attack perfectly. Kevin De Bruyne And cross at the same level as Joao Cancelo’s box, or sweep from behind for a classic city cutback.

After all, he is already doing the latter. His sizable Dortmund portfolio is full of moments where he gets the right run at the right moment to meet his teammate’s cutback.

The Hoffenheim defenders seem to be in a good position to face Haaland even with Dortmund threatening on the left.

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His moves are perfect. For a moment in this move, Haaland wanders into an offside position. His senior defender Benjamin Hubner may think it’s safe for him to leave him there. Young Norwegians know better. There are more ways in which the play swings towards him than away from him. Even if the rushing Donyel Malen gets the ball from his give and go, Kevin Vogt will feel he has to step back.

He did, and suddenly Haaland was in the main scoring area, ready to sweep another goal that seemed a lot easier in execution than in production.

As Dortmund’s number 9 sweeps into goal, Vogt steps back and plays Haaland from the inside.

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Haaland is just as good as a top-notch, pure scorer. In the German league, he averages better than one goal every 90 minutes from 0.85 expected goals (xG). It would be nice to take a look at his frankly absurd Champions League return before raising the possibility of a Bundesliga tax. Estimated goals are recorded every 86 minutes and actual goals are recorded every 64 minutes. In the last three years at the elite level in Europe, Haaland has scored more. He is more frequent than Sevilla, Inter Milan or Atlético Madrid.

But then you already knew all this. The most interesting thing about Haaland is how he can develop City outside of goal. Since joining English football, Guardiola has tended to favor extreme widths on his side and has leaned more towards that approach over time. His team built more and more offense from the flanks and dodged punches with gut attacks that Yaya Toure led in the past City team. In the 2017-18 season, his team averaged 1,028 meters per game through the middle third of the attacking team. This season, that number has decreased by about 10%.

Of course, City is not alone in launching an attack from the outside. Practically every team in football does that for the simple reason that the sides tend to be less crowded than the midfield. Perhaps Guardiola can change that. Clearly, next season he will have players who can center the ball just like everyone else. In recent weeks we’ve already seen some of De Bruyne’s best being dynamic through the centre. Premier League 2-2 Draw Early Stage Liverpool Belgian saw brush Fabinue Company as if they weren’t even there.

holland could do It is more difficult to stop. The opposing defense can feel he is in a safe space when the Norwegian moves into midfield with his back to the post. Until you turn on the afterburner. His speed and power are ruthless. A player with that body shape shouldn’t be able to move as much as he does. It’s like watching the first flush from Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kevin Durant. That ability was put into that body!? Just like the Greek monster of the early NBA days did, you get the feeling he’s become him in some way in the finished product.

But there’s no need to look far for the moment when Haaland’s ball transport and full gravity through the center of the pitch pave the way for new avenues for his team-mates. Use one of the 7 assists provided by the Bundesliga this season below for Axel Witsel. Dortmund’s number 9 goes deep into the center right channel and lifts the ball up. Backtracking Maximilian Arnold knows two players are playing outside and knows that this should be his focus.

The Wolfsburg defenders flocked to Haaland to make room for overlapping runners.

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But when Haaland, the lion’s body gazelle, is charging towards you, can’t you be a little more concerned about what’s happening behind you? Arnold moves forward for a moment and that’s all Dortmund needs. One simple through ball and Witsel scores.

This is perhaps the most striking change Haaland has made in Dortmund, a club on the brink of becoming Europe’s best and most brilliant school. He improved noticeably as a ball carrier (especially advancing the ball into the penalty area) and facilitator, finishing a game close to a pure scorer when he left Red Bull Salzburg. In his first half in Germany, he was averaging 0.11 assists per 90 minutes, a figure that more than doubled to 0.25 in the 2021-22 season, placing him in the top 30 in the Bundesliga. Whoever occupies the seat of Manchester City’s centre-forward in the best flight of the season.

For the most part, the opportunities Haaland has created and the assists he has provided come from disparate points. Occasionally he returns as a defender and bounces around corners. For others, he will choose a runner that goes beyond himself. You would hardly confuse him with De Bruyne. Bernardo Silva, but that’s the point. City already has players who can see spaces that no one else can. As Haaland and De Bruyne make their way through the center, more passes could open up as the defender gets sucked into the infield.

Ultimately, more likely than Haaland’s seamless integration into current systems, it’s more likely to make a significant difference in how and where the City deploys its attacks. Nothing else, but the idea of ​​him rushing through a broken play in the middle should do something his opponents already rarely do. In other words, he’s escaping the lower defensive blocks to keep his precious life alive.

But if everything he has to offer in his buildup is another way City can beat the team (driving with his heart rather than working sideways), it’s a welcome addition to Guardiola’s arsenal. Neither City nor Haaland need to change to excel, but having another quiver in the bow never hurts.



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