Norwegian striker Erling Braut Haaland is increasingly showing his qualities as a reliable goal machine. It’s like there is no day without a goal which he dedicated to his new club, Manchester City.
Haaland is not only prolific scoring goals, but also beautiful. Including the one last Wednesday night he scored against the club that had helped raise him, Borussia Dortmund, in the Champions League match.
It’s not just the 2-1 win that makes the fans the Citizens satisfied. However, they were also confused to determine which goal was more spectacular, John Stones’ goal or Haaland’s goal.
Coach Josep Guardiola did not really want to mess around which goal is more beautiful created by his team. Pep Guardiola is satisfied with the performance of his side who have come from behind and are unbeaten in eight games played this season.
“We can only win at the last moment. I do not like a victory like this,” said Pep. “We played badly in the first half. We were too passive and didn’t attack much. We only changed after Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez came in.”
He hopes his team can continue to maintain an unbeaten performance. Including this Saturday night when Manchester City have to travel to the Molineux Stadium to face Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Pep increasingly feel confident with the appearance of Haaland. The 22-year-old is the purest spearhead that is expected. The long-haired player has a high sprint and is difficult for the opponent to catch when he gets the local ball.
Haaland was well aware of that power. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to get into the opponent’s penalty box too quickly. He allows space between the goalkeeper and defenders so that when Kevin de Bruyne proffers the ball from the middle or Phil Folden from the wings, he can be faster than the opposing players to get the ball.
The instinct of the talented Norwegian player is very sharp in seeing opportunities. Not to mention his strong left foot makes it difficult for the opposing goalkeeper to be able to hold his kick.
“Haaland reminds me of Johan Cruyff. The goal that was scored against Dortmund is the same as that scored by Cruyff for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid. He scored it with the outside of his left foot. A special goal,” said Guardiola.
Guardiola taught Haaland patience. The youngster often wanted to rush to finish the attack while still playing at Dortmund. As a result, many opportunities he wasted. Even more fatal, his hasty attitude made him often injured.
In the Bundesliga, Haaland has never been able to beat veteran striker from Bayern Munich Robert Lewandowski as the top scorer. The reason, he often sits on the bench because of the injury he suffered.
With 12 goals scored in the first eight games of the season, it is not impossible that Haaland will be able to repeat the feat in the 2019/2020 season when he scored 44 goals. Being a challenge, who can stop Haaland’s pace now?
That’s a question Wolves coach Bruno Lage will have to answer tonight. Which player will he assign to keep Haaland’s movement so that the guest players are not free to break into his team’s goal?
So far, Haaland has never been specially escorted so he is free to welcome the regional ball that is presented to him. With the last performance last Wednesday, all opposing teams will surely pay special attention to the attackers the Citizens that.
Nunes or Neves
If Wolves don’t want to sink further into the bottom standings, Lage must have the courage to assign Matheus Nunes or Ruben Neves to oversee Haaland’s movements. The sacrifice of one midfielder helps an important defense to make two center-back Nathan Collins and Max Kilman focus on securing around the penalty box.
With Manchester City always in control of the ball and controlling the game, it was not easy for Wolves to get out of the visitors’ pressure. Especially the Citizens known to be fast in moving the playing field so as to force the opponent’s defense to be loose.
The threat from Manchester City lies not only in Haaland, but also in an aggressive midfield. Both De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan could play the second striker that can threaten the opponent’s goal.
Not to mention the two wingers, either Foden and Silva or Jack Grealish or Riyad Mahrez, who were able to penetrate into the penalty box. Four defenders the Citizens taking turns also always helps to attack.
Wolves’ condition is getting tougher because many of their players are grappling with injuries. Striker Sasa Kalajdzic had to sit on the bench due to an injury. The choice that Lage can make is to try his new player, Diego Costa, or Raul Jimenez who is recovering from injury.
Wolves who in the last season often surprised now lost sharpness. It can be seen from the only three goals that can be created in six matches. The loan of Adama Traore to Barcelona greatly affected Wolves’ offensive power.
A tough task faced by veteran player Joao Moutinho who must become a general in midfield. Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence must be willing to go down to pick up the ball as well as help in midfield when the team is under pressure.
With Manchester City being quick to make capital transfers and permutations between players, it is indeed a regional defense that Wolves will be much more effective in keeping up with the opponent’s game. If all the players are disciplined in carrying out their duties and are not easily provoked out, Wolves will be able to provide resistance.
Moreover, when Costa appeared for Chelsea, he was known as single fighter. He is able to fight alone and can be relied on in utilizing counterattacks.
Manchester City’s defense is not without its weaknesses, especially when Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker are injured. Guardiola chooses to play attacking and have the ball as long as possible so that his team’s weaknesses at the back can be covered.