In the wake of Erling Haaland scoring three goals in a row for Manchester City in a matter of days, a video of the fans’ reaction went viral.
It showed the Manchester United fan looking into his living room screaming unbelievably. “f**king Haaland scored a hat-trick in 38 minutes. He scored a hat-trick in the last game, we are four games in the season and do you know how many goals he scored? 9.”
To amuse the Internet so much, the fan gets more and more angry, “four games” he repeats with growing indignation, “He scored half the amount you need to rank as a great striker already. Do you know how many games there are? 38.”
It’s fair to say that not only is this fan amazed by the Norwegian striker’s numbers, most people expected Haaland to score, but not at this rate.
However, looking at the numbers shows that we shouldn’t really be surprised, the combination of Manchester City and Erling Haaland resulted in a torrent of goals.
The guide has been around from the start.
Opportunity converting machine…
Gone are the days when a new signing from abroad would hold any mystery in the Premier League. The internet content machine means fans and media alike have a strong sense of the player before they take to the pitch in the club’s colours.
Even young people from South America have reels to share on social media and publicly available stats.
So when it comes to superstar names like Erling Haaland, there’s no excuse for people not knowing what Manchester City would have had: Europe’s top scorer.
This is not an opinion, it is a testable fact, as explained by Squawka: “Erling Haaland is the most experienced player in European football. This is an objective fact.”
By way of clarification, the outlet pointed to data showing that 800 individual players on the continent took at least twice per match, excluding penalties, and Haaland’s 27.3% conversion rate was the best.
Another way to understand this deadly risk is in the terms Analytics FC put it for daily Mail: Haaland scores on every fourth shot he takes. The newspaper indicates that he scored better than Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
Using the measure of expected goals (xG), which divides a player’s chances by the average scoring probability, Haaland also demonstrated the ability to convert chances with a high degree of difficulty.
Based on the chances created for him last season, he had an xG of 15, but the Norwegian scored 22 goals. This shows that he not only scores open goals, but is adept at finishing even the toughest chances.
… Learn about the opportunity creation machine
Numbers like these would be a frightening prospect no matter which team Haaland was joining, but with Manchester City he has picked the team that has always created the most chances in the division.
An analysis by Infogol for gambling company Betfair showed that City had average expected goals per game last season of 2.42. This means, based on the quality of the chances that are created, that they should have scored at least two goals in the match.
Creating chances, of course, is not a guarantee of goals to be scored, and that has been the problem at City for the past few years.
Often injured in his last season, talented Sergio Aguero left the club in the summer of 2021, and in his absence, strikers Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus failed to take over.
Analysis by the athlete In 2021, which researched a “big chance” of converting, Sterling and Jesus found they were less than half the easier chances they had.
By contrast, Erling Haaland scored nearly two-thirds of these types of opportunities.
How does Haaland make the difference?
It stands to reason that if you combine these two factors, an amazing chance converter with a goal conversion machine will result in record numbers.
This is evident in Haaland’s stats, but can also be seen when comparing the team’s performance on a game-by-game basis.
When Manchester City played Crystal Palace in March 2022, the match ended 0-0, meaning the Manconianians had lost valuable points in the title race with Liverpool.
The draw was very annoying because City created a bunch of opportunities that they failed to convert, and they were a huge success. xG From 2.37 against 0.66 in the palace.
Several months later the two met again and there seemed to be an even more frustrating defeat on paper as Palace somehow led 2-0 with a single shot on target.
However, with Haaland the highest in diverting opportunities now in the city’s ranks, there was less danger that the citizens would miss the opportunities they created.
That was largely the case, in the second half, Haaland’s hat-trick contributed to a 4-2 win, with the team significantly outperforming their game. xG from 2.24.
Football is by nature an unpredictable sport where anything can happen.
But this season one thing is inevitable: Erling Haaland + Manchester City = goals, a lot of goals.