Erling Haaland's had six goalless games in eight matches: Have defences worked out how to stop the Man City striker?

Comments (0)
Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23
The Norwegian is allowed the odd quiet day after all he has achieved this season, but those quiet days are becoming more and more frequent...

It is not exactly a goal drought, but given Erling Haaland's astonishing strike rate throughout his career, and especially since moving to Manchester City, the numbers are little concerning.

🏆 TOP STORY: Furious Ronaldo kicks bottle after Messi chants

📣 HAVE YOUR SAY: Is Rashford the world's best player?

🚨 MUST READ: Retire or return to Barca - Messi must quit PSG

In his last eight matches, the centre-forward has failed to score on six occasions.

Since bagging a hat-trick against Wolves in late January, he has notched just two goals and two assists, making it by far his worst run of form in a City shirt.

So, what is behind Haaland’s recent dip? GOAL investigates below…

  1. Fewer shots = fewer goals

    Fewer shots = fewer goals

    It does not take an expert to point out that having shots is pretty crucial to scoring goals. And that’s why it is not just the Norwegian's lack of goals lately which ought to concern City fans.

    In his last eight matches, Haaland has had 14 shots, only three of which have hit the target. In his last outing against Newcastle, he had only two attempts, a badly directed header and a wayward shot, neither of which tested Nick Pope in the visiting goal.

    It was even worse away to Tottenham, when he failed to have a single shot in the 1-0 defeat.

    In the previous eight games up to and including his hat-trick against Wolves, he had 25 shots – including eight against Leeds – resulting in eight goals

    His recent performances look even worse compared to his first eight matches for City.

    Between his Premier League debut against West Ham and the Champions League home game against former side Borussia Dortmund, Haaland had 32 shots, scoring 13 goals.

    It is not just that Haaland is missing chances, then, it is that he is no longer getting as many.

  2. Defences keeping him out of the area

    Defences keeping him out of the area

    Haaland’s prolific nature was no secret to anyone with an interest in football. He scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund and 29 in 27 for RB Salzburg.

    Yet he still managed to take the Premier League by surprise, plundering 18 goals in his first 12 matches in what is regarded by many to be the toughest league in the world.

    However, despite the initial shock, it seems as if Premier League defences are slowly getting wise to him.

    And the best way to try and limit his power is to allow him into the box as little as possible. Newcastle managed that, allowing him just one attempt in the area, while against Tottenham he had zero touches on the ball in the area.

    Against opponents that play a high line and attack a lot, Haaland is as deadly as they come. His reaction skills also mean that if teams allow City to keep pumping balls into the box, they are exposed.

    But when teams sit back and prevent him running in behind while keeping him as far from their area as possible, they can constrict him.

  3. City not quite firing on all cylinders

    City not quite firing on all cylinders

    Haaland's slight drop in form has not gone unnoticed, and Pep Guardiola was very careful not to blame his star striker for his recently 'meagre' goal count when asked about him before last month's game away to Bournemouth.

    Guardiola was informed that Haaland had missed 18 'big chances' this season, more than anyone in the Premier League, but the coach insisted, “It’s our fault. Not Erling, Erling has been impressive all season.

    "I don’t need metrics. When I finish the game, one second later I know if he was involved or not and if he should be more involved or not. I know exactly.

    "Of course [they need to involve him more]. But it depends on us, not him."

    Haaland's dip has also coincided with a relative drop in form for City in recent weeks.

    A number of players have not been themselves.

    Kevin De Bruyne, their usual talisman, has gone off the boil, underperforming in a number of games, with the obvious exception of the top-of-the-table showdown with Arsenal.

    Phil Foden now looks back to his best but had also been struggling since the World Cup.

    City have also had to make do without one of their most creative players since Joao Cancelo left the club on loan after falling out with Guardiola.

    So, while Haaland does have an excellent chance to rediscover his best form against struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, the coming weeks will tell us more about whether this is merely a mini-slump or a far more worrying trend...