Manchester City will not risk Erling Haaland in the Premier League clash against Liverpool on Saturday. The Norwegian was forced to withdraw from the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers against Spain and Georgia due to a groin injury. Doubts were already there over his availability for the crucial encounter with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Erling Haaland has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League, taking the English division by storm. He has 39 goals in 35 matches to his name in all competitions. His best performance came in the recent thrashing of RB Leipzig in the Champions League Round of 18, where the Norwegian scored 5 goals, defeating them 7-0. He continued his form with a hat trick in the FA Cup clash against Burnley before his injury.
Erling Haaland is set to break records since his arrival at the Etihad, marching towards breaking Mo Salah’s topscorer record in the Premier League and imposing a threat to Lionel Messi‘s Champions League record, already equaling it with 5 goals in a single match. The Blues have failed to replace their top scorer and legend Sergio Aguero since his departure until the former Dortmund man’s arrival. There is more to come from the young lad who has proved a lot already.
The Blues hope he will be deemed fit to play as Manchester City trail Arsenal in the title race by eight points. They will move within five points of the Gunners with a win against the Merseysiders, and Haaland will be pivotal. The positive part is they have quality options for Julian Alvarez, who may not be as threatening as the first-choice man but can step up in crucial times, as seen during Argentina’s triumph in the World Cup.
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Who are Erling Haaland’s rivals for the PFA player of the year award?
Erling Haaland is the overwhelming favorite to win the PFA player of the year award. The 22-year-old has had an immediate impact, scoring 28 goals in the Premier League this season. If he wins the PFA award, he will be the first player to be recognized by his peers in his debut season. Although, if City fails to win the league, a few other players will hope to pip Haaland.
Bukayo Saka is the only player to have reached double figures for both goals and assists in the league this season, as he has gone from Starboy to Starman for Arsenal in their pursuit of a first title in 19 years. Saka impressed last season, scoring 11 goals for Arsenal, but he has taken his game to the next level. The 21-year-old ranks are sixth for key passes and first for successful dribbles in the league.
Martin Ødegaard has been superb in midfield, scoring 10 goals to help fire Arsenal to the top of the table. His tally of six assists is the sixth-highest in the league this season. However, most of his best work has been down off the ball. Ødegaard has won possession in the attacking third more times than any other player this season, and he knows exactly what to do with the ball when he does win possession, as shown by his 62 key passes, the fourth-highest in the league.
The two-time PFA player of the year winner, Kevin De Bruyne, is going for his third award in four years. No one has won the award three times, and this is unlikely to be De Bruyne’s year, given his stop-start form. Even though he has made more assists and key passes than anyone in the division, he has not been as effective since the World Cup.
Rashford has scored 14 league goals this season, which puts him fourth in the race for the Golden Boot. No player has scored more goals than Rashford since the World Cup, and his superb form has pushed Manchester United to third in the table. Rashford already has a medal to his name this season, having scored for United in their 2-0 win over Newcastle in the League Cup final last month, and he remains in the hunt for the FA Cup and Europa League.
Harry Kane is in a similar position to Rashford. He is an outsider for the award but has broken the goalscoring records for Tottenham and England this season. Kane is Haaland’s main competitor for the Golden Boot, having scored 21 times for Spurs. Haaland has a seven-goal lead in the battle, but Kane is playing in a team plagued by uncertainty. Tottenham’s season threatens to peter out after Antonio Conte’s sacking on Sunday night, but Kane’s performances in front of goal have been consistent throughout.
Gabriel Martinelli ranks fifth in the race for the Golden Boot. The young Brazilian has scored 13 league goals this season and is ending the season with a flourish. This has been the most prolific campaign of his short career by a distance. The Brazil international is over his injury issues and has proven vital in the club’s pursuit of the title.
William Saliba slotted in seamlessly at the heart of the Arsenal backline following his impressive loan spell with Marseille last season. Arsenal boasts the third-best defensive record in the league, having shipped just 26 goals in 22 games. Saliba adapted quickly to the Premier League, helping to propel his side to the top of the table and keep them there. He has won possession in the defensive third more times than any other player in the league, as well as winning possession in the midfield third 91 times. He steps into midfield when needed, easing pressure on the Arsenal goal and putting them on the front foot.
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