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Personal Glory vs Team Success: Has Erling Haaland Improved Manchester City?

Haaland has been good, but has he improved the side?

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester City wrote their name in the history books as one of the great teams of the modern era, winning four of the last Premier League titles. They have done this for the most part while playing with a false nine. Although he will go down in history as one of the best strikers to grace the Premier League, Sergio Aguero spent the latter part of his years at Manchester City especially under Pep Guardiola playing mostly as a false nine.

The former Argentine striker’s role hard been reduced to the extent that he scored just four league goals in his last season at City. But the team went on to win the Premier League title. I’ve got ola had murdered the team to become a unit where goals were coming from all over the pitch.

That explains the reason that Manchester City have not had any player win the golden boot award since 2015, when Aguero had his best season in front of goal for the club. Despite dominating the division since Guardiola took charge in 2016, City’s main striker has not been a strong contender for the golden boot award.

The likes of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and even Heung min Son have shared the golden boot for the last several seasons. Yet, Man City have regularly been the top scorers in the division.

Despite breaking several goal-scoring records, Erling Haaland has drawn blanks on several occasions with the team struggling to win games when that happens. The 22-year-old has been criticised from several quarters for his low number of touches per match. That is said to be having a negative impact on the team’s overall performance.

Many have accused him of disrupting a set system that has produced so much success in the last several seasons. That has contributed to City’s struggle to keep up with Arsenal in the title race.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have been a different team this season. But some feel their performance has been strengthened by City’s weakness; one that has been partly caused by the introduction of Haaland.

But Pep Guardiola has risen in defence of his striker. The Catalan boss has dismissed the view, insisting that Haaland is not to blame for the team’s shortcomings.

“It is our fault, not Erling’s. Erling has been impressive all season,” Guardiola said heading into the Bournemouth game.

“It’s not metrics, I don’t need metrics to know. When I finish the game, one second later I know if he has been involved or not and who should be more involved or not.”

Whatever the case, the fact remains that the end will justify the means. For a team that has won several trophies without a top striker, Haaland was supposed to complete the puzzle. So for the current and the next few campaigns, if City fall short of even the standard they have set while the Norwegian continues to win individual accolades, his presence would have hurt rather than benefit the team.