The remarkable scoring exploits of Erling Haaland hit another landmark at the weekend when he netted his 50th goal of the season in a 2-1 victory at Fulham, which in doing so took Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League.
His 3rd minute strike from the penalty spot also meant that the incredible Norwegian’s tally becomes the most goals by a top-flight player for 92 years, since Tom ‘Pongo’ Waring reached 50 for Aston Villa in 1930-31.
One more league goal will see him break the Premier League record for the number of goals in one campaign, and then he will have in his sights on the seemingly unbreakable all-time single-season English goalscoring record, which is the 63 goals Everton’s Dixie Dean converted way back in 1927-28, which most “experts” believed could never be surpassed.
City taken to next level
The half century of goals have been achieved in just 44 games in all competitions, shared between 34 in the Premier League, 12 in the Champions League, three in the FA Cup and one in the Carabao Cup.
Just a few weeks ago City looked to have it all on to catch Arsenal at the summit, but the Londoners indifferent form, and their resounding 4-1 defeat at the hands of their title rivals last week, has seen the Manchester club move ever closer to securing their fifth league success in the last six seasons.
They remain on course for a fantastic treble with an FA Cup Final appearance to look forward to against their neighbours Manchester United next month and a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid just around the corner.
Undoubtedly Haaland has taken an already formidable outfit, significantly up a notch and it would be a brave man to back against them clinching all three trophies.
Manager acknowledges “Prime” asset
His latest scoring feat left his manager Pep Guardiola purring, especially when he was told the length of time since a player last went past the 50 goal mark in England. “Before Winston Churchill was prime minister? Wow. That sounds a long time ago,” was his perplexed reaction on hearing the statistic. He added: “Congratulations to Erling; the best goals to help us achieve what we want is hopefully still to come. I was really impressed that he took the penalty with the strong mentality he has.”
Joint record holder labelled “freak”
He joined Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, who were the joint record holders for goals scored in a Premier League season – Shearer for Blackburn in 1994/95 and Cole for Newcastle United in 1993/94; but back then the season consisted of 42 games, rather than the 38 current number, and Haaland has reached the record of 34 in just 30 games.
Shearer in his roll as BBC pundit spoke in glowing terms of the man about to take away his record: “I say this in a polite way, but Haaland is a freak!” was his description of the deadly striker. He continued: “If you were building a centre-forward from scratch then he would almost be it.” He went on to point out his list of attributes: “He is very good in the air, quick, has a fantastic touch, he can bring people into the game and more importantly he scores a ton of goals; everything about him is top quality.”
More goals alone than 5 premier league clubs managed each
It would be a major shock if the lethal Number Nine did not claim the record for his own outright in the final six Premier League games of the campaign. His 34 goals are ten ahead of his nearest rival Harry Kane, and embarrassingly for Southampton, Everton, Wolves, Notts Forest, and Chelsea, they amount to more than those teams have each managed in total this season.
Goal every 21 touches
In an age of careful analysis his record broken down is even more astonishing. The 34 Premier League goals have come from 106 shots and even more ridiculously, from his 727 touches of the ball, it calculates out at less than one in seven of those being a shot, meaning that one in 21 of the times that Haaland’s makes contact with the ball, it brings him a goal. With a further seven assists to his record, that figure comes down to a staggering one in 19 touches leading to his team scoring.
Dixie in his sights
He still has a potential 10 matches to play this season; on top of the six Premier League games mentioned, he has the FA Cup final and a possible three more in the Champions League. At his current rate that would put the believed to be unbeatable 63, achieved by the legendary Dixie Dean for Everton in 1927/28, under serious threat. Sixty of those goals came in the league so that would seem to be out of reach, but 14 goals in ten games certainly does not seem beyond his capabilities.
Every day a Sunday?
As Alan Shearer suggested, these type of statistics point to Haaland being extraordinarily unique and some of his daily routines maybe give clues to how he manages it. The 6,000 calories he consumes each day, is the equivalent of having seven Sunday roasts and the revelation that part of his diet includes eating the heart and liver of a cow, is definitely an eye opener.
He is a big believer in the “circadian rhythm” meaning that he insists on getting daylight and where possible sunlight into his eyes, as soon as he wakes. He also wears an Oura Ring to measure his sleep quality, stress and heart-rate.
If all these things together give him just a couple of percent extra, his goals surely point towards it all being worthwhile.