It’s safe to say that Erling Braut Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm. Everyone knew the talent that Manchester City were bagging themselves when they signed the giant Norwegian striker for just £50m from Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer. But just how he has hit the ground running has impressed everybody. He has already broken Sergio Aguero’s record of most goals scored in a player’s first five Premier League thanks to back-to-back hat tricks against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest. Online bookmakers such as SkyBet, which provides betting and free offers on Premier League football, had already made Pep Guardiola’s Blues the favourites to retain the title they won in dramatic fashion on the final day of last season. And now with the former Salzburg striker firing on all cylinders, it would take a brave punter to back against them.
To be honest, we shouldn’t really be surprised at Haaland’s start to life in England, should we? He bagged five goals in his first 56 minutes as a Borussia Dortmund player, including a debut hat trick from the bench away at Augsburg which took just 23 minutes to complete. He then added another two goals against Union Berlin in his third game for the club, taking his tally to seven in barely three games of football. Throughout his two-and-a-half years in North Rhine-Westphalia, he helped himself to 86 goals in 89 appearances, as well as the 2020/21 DFB Pokal for good measure. Now, he finds himself spearheading Pep’s already all-conquering Manchester City side, and with him providing a focal point up top, we could perhaps be watching the greatest team in the history of English football.
Carragher’s words are ominous for Liverpool and the rest of the division
Speaking to SkySports, Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher was in awe of City’s new number nine, just as we all have been in recent weeks. He said: “He just looks absolutely amazing.
“We know we’ve got a great player in the league, but I think we’ve got something really, really special.” he continued
“When he’s finished his time at man city or in the premier league we’ll be talking [about him] alongside Thierry Henry. I think this lad could end up being the best player we’ve seen in the Premier League.” He finished.
When a central defender with 508 Premier League appearances to his name — who has faced the likes of Henry, Didier Drogba, Robin Van Persie, and Wayne Rooney — is talking about a striker like that, it should be an ominous warning to the rest of the Premier League. And no team should be more worried than the club he made that bucket-load of appearances for, Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are already five points behind City, and while there have been just five games played this season, it’s hard to see a fixture that the Etihad club may lose. They found themselves 2-0 at home to one of their perennial bogey sides, Crystal Palace, on 27th August, only to come roaring back in the second half. Four goals in 28 minutes — including a 19-minute Haaland hat trick — was enough to secure all three points and it sent a warning to anyone even considering a run for the Premier League trophy.
Does the chasing pack have any hope of catching City?
Liverpool responded to Manchester City’s comeback with one of their own four days later. After falling behind to Newcastle thanks to a debut goal from Alexander Isak, the Reds rallied. Second-half strikes from Roberto Firmino and 98th-minute Fabio Carvalho winner secured all three points, and let their rivals from down the M62 know that they weren’t going down without a fight.
But this season, it looks like it would take a herculean effort to overthrow the reigning champions. Arsenal currently sit atop of the pile, two points clear of City, but whether the Gunners can challenge for a first Premier League crown since 2004 remains to be seen. A more optimistic ambition for them would be a return to the Champions League for the first time in the post-Arsene Wenger era.
But there is one clear favourite, and with a certain Norwegian powerhouse leading the line, it’s easy to see why.