IT may have been a Manchester derby but to Erling Haaland it was just another game and another record broken.
His three goals in the 6-3 thrashing of Manchester United at Etihad Stadium ensured he became the first player to net three successive hat-tricks at home in the Premier League.
The 22-year-old is so used to scoring – and scoring hat-tricks – that he nonchalantly put his arm around team-mate Phil Foden in their post-match interview and joked they could have a match ball each after the Stockport-born forward also netted three against United.
Former United and City goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live you could “see different players in Haaland” and he is like the “top strikers all in one”.
“The biggest part of a good striker is patience. I played against some of the best strikers and when they go missing is when you really have to concentrate,” added Schmeichel.
“The Cristiano Ronaldos, the Filippo Inzaghis of this world – they disappear then all of a sudden they get the chance.
“When you look at Haaland, you see different players. That Zlatan-like goal, and Ronaldo is in there too. You see top, top strikers in one.
“That is why he is so dangerous. He has the luxury of seeing many top strikers and they are all put into one player.”
Haaland now has 14 goals from his eight Premier League games, double the total of Harry Kane who stands second in the top scorers list.
‘The numbers are scary’
“Yeah, not bad” was how Haaland responded when Sky Sports asked him about his performance in the derby.
“We scored six goals. What can I say? To win at home, score six goals, it’s nice. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say,” he added.
It has often been “nice” for Haaland since joining City, and manager Pep Guardiola says his scoring statistics are “scary”.
“The numbers speak for himself. He has done this before here. It is not just our way. Always we try to help him in our environment,” said Guardiola.
“We have this incredible sense that he always looks starving and is so competitive. The numbers are scary.”
Haaland’s latest hat-trick took his tally to 17 goals and three assists in his past 11 games.
He has already scored three more in his first eight Premier League matches than Mick Quinn, Papiss Cisse and Diego Costa’s previous record after 10 games.
His nine goals in his first five matches made him the top scorer in August of any Premier League season.
|Matches taken to score three Premier League hat-tricks
|Ruud van Nistelrooy
The Norway forward was also the first player to score in his first four away games in the Premier League and he is the youngest player to score 25 goals in the Champions League.
“I’ve never scored three hat-tricks in three home games before. It’s amazing,” Haaland told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Confidence is good, it’s always been good. After the Community Shield [defeat by] Liverpool, it was still good. It was good that this match happened and I knew I just have to be ready.
“I felt a couple of days before the Manchester derby that something special was going to happen and some special things happened so it’s nice. It’s these games I want to play in.”
What records could he break this season?
The rate of Haaland’s goalscoring has put plenty of Premier League records in his sight:
- Most Premier League goals in a season: 34 Andy Cole (Newcastle United; 1993-94 – 42 matches) and Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers; 1994-95 – 42 matches). 32 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool; 2017-18 – 38 matches).
- Most Premier League goals in a debut season: 30 Kevin Phillips (Sunderland; 1999-00)
He is also already a quarter of the way to former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero’s record of 12 hat-tricks, a Premier League record which he set between 2011-12 and 2020-21.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane holds the record for most Premier League goals in a calendar year with 39 in 2017.
If Haaland keeps up his current scoring rate, assuming he played in every league game, he would even break the England top-flight record of 60 goals in a season, scored by Everton’s Dixie Dean in 1927-28.
‘Haaland will break Shearer’s record’
The rate at which Haaland is scoring led former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton to say on BBC Radio 5 Live that “he is a freak”.
He also compared him to his former Blackburn Rovers strike partner Alan Shearer, who still holds the record of the most goals scored in the Premier League with 260.
“If Haaland hangs around, Shearer’s record is going. I’m not sure Harry Kane will quite get there. This guy has got the absolute lot.
“Robbie Savage said he will get 51 goals. That is not ridiculous. If he stays fit, that is really feasible.”
Former England defender Jonathan Woodgate said he had “never seen a centre-forward as clinical as Haaland” and he “has everything”.
“He finds space in the box and he’s devastating when he gets in there. A phenomenal, phenomenal talent. I don’t see a real weakness to his game,” Woodgate said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“If you want to fight with him, he’ll fight with you. If you want to try and race him, he’ll race you and beat you. He’s got everything you could possibly want in a centre-forward.
“If Manchester City had Haaland last season, they would have won the Champions League.”
‘Special’ hat-trick for local boy
But it was not just Haaland who stole the headlines on Sunday as academy graduate Foden scored his first senior hat-trick.
Aged 22 years and 127 days, he also became the youngest player to reach 50 goals under Guardiola, surpassing Lionel Messi.
“A hat-trick from a local lad is special. It is so good to see. To get a hat-trick in a derby – what more could you want?” former City defender Micah Richards told Sky Sports.
Woodgate added: “England should build their team around Foden, he is that good. What a fantastic talent.”
Lifelong City fan Foden said it was a “dream come true” to net his first goals against Manchester United.
Guardiola added: “His desire, how he runs, is the main thing. He deserves to play every time and then he has quality. He is a young player he deserves everything.”
‘Haaland is greatest striker on planet’ – how you reacted
Adam: Haaland is the greatest striker on the planet right now. Only Lewandoski comes close. Phenomenal.
Tim: Wow. The only way to stop Haaland scoring is a transfer to Chelsea… (Chelsea fan).
Mahesh: It’s good if Haaland keeps scoring like this, he will get bored soon and leave early rather than wait 2.5 years.
Larry: Dinner is served. KDB is cooking.
Teflon Don: Man City went and bought a monster. Haaland is a force of nature, an act of God.
Doug: I hope Kane and Son are enjoying that goal/assist partnership record while it lasts. At this rate Haaland and De Bruyne will have it by the middle of next season.
Andrew: The De Bruyne/Haaland link-up could dominate club football for the next 4 or 5 seasons.
David: The way he is going, Haaland is going to beat Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record before Harry Kane!!
Peter: Haaland is a machine. He keeps on pumping out those goals. I was initially sceptical if he’d be able to perform in the PL, boy was I wrong.
Culled from BBC SPORT
C.ETags: Cristiano Ronaldo Erling Haaland Manchester City Zlatan Ibrahimovic