There are two types of people in this world. Those whose response to Erling Haaland scoring a hat-trick against Fulham being to go “Wow that’s amazing, five hat-tricks in 39 Premier League games is ridiculous” and those who go “Third, fourth and fifth goals in a 5-1 win over Fulham? Stat-padding, flat-track bullying fraud.”
We’re not saying the second group are right, but we are about to set out to prove that – just like Harry Kane’s so-called England so-called goals – Erling Haaland has actually scored zero proper goals that count for Manchester City.
Look, what do you want from us? It’s the international break and there’s only so much time and energy we can expend on Jordan Henderson. If you don’t behave yourselves, we’ll make this a full series and it’s only a matter of time before it’s your favourite player having all their goals taken off them. Certainly wouldn’t want to be a Dixie Dean or Pele fan right now, is all we’re saying.
Anyway. Here goes. Here’s the proof, if proof be need be, of Haaland’s embarrassing fraudulence despite what on the surface appear to be quite good numbers.
Starting total: 58 Manchester City goals
The eight penalties
Let’s start with the lowest-hanging of all the fraudulent goalscoring fruits. Penalties. A free shot at goal from 12 yards? Statistically worth 0.80 of a goal even if you’re not a terrifying Norwegian robot sent from the future/Leeds to destroy us all? Genuinely embarrassing that anyone who considers themselves an elite goalscorer will dirty themselves by accepting such cheap, tawdry goalscoring options at all.
New Haaland City goal tally: 50 goals
The 13 flabby stat-padding hat-trick goals
If there’s one thing more fraudulent than scoring penalties like Perling Paaland loves to do, then it’s scoring greedy and meaningless hat-tricks against long-beaten teams. Four of Haaland’s City hat-tricks have been such examples of fraudulence. Some would argue that having to eliminate multiple hat-tricks from someone’s record at all is actually an indicator that the player might be quite good, but these people are idiots.
Haaland has scored three goals in 6-0 wins against Nottingham Forest and Burnley as well as that recent 5-1 paddling of Fulham. None of those goals are worth a thing. Worse, he got FIVE against Leipzig in a game that even without him would have ended in a routine 2-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s team. We’ve already chalked one of those five off for being a grubby little penalty, but it’s still four more struck from the total.
New Haaland City goal tally: 37 goals
The 18 other assorted flabby and unnecessary goals
It’s not just unnecessary hat-tricks that greedy guts Haaland likes to score, though. No, he’ll help himself to one or two meaningless goals here and there if the chance arises. Two in a 4-0 win over Sevilla, another couple in a 5-0 against Copenhagen and a brace in a 4-1 against Southampton. None of these are goals that need to exist. And now they don’t.
Throw in further single goals in a 3-0 win over Wolves, a 4-0 win over Southampton, a 4-2 win over Spurs, a 3-1 win over Arsenal (the third City goal, scored in injury time to make it even more pointless, but while it no longer officially counts as a goal it does earn style points for being scored with his hair flowing free as he awaited the final whistle), a 4-1 win over Bournemouth, a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich and an unneeded goal in the box-ticking exercise that was the second leg of that clash, another goal in a drubbing of Arsenal – 4-1 this time – and goals in 3-0 wins over West Ham and Everton (who were both busy being absolutely terrible at the time) and it’s impossible to conclude anything other than this guy being a waste of space. We can also now get rid of those two goals against Burnley on the opening night of the season, because it’s becoming apparent already that everyone is going to score goals against Burnley until they disappointingly sack Vincent Kompany and replace him with someone dull.
New Haaland City goals total: 19 goals
The one Carabao goal
Not a proper cup, is it? Definitely the least important anyway. City didn’t even bother winning it last season, and Haaland to his credit didn’t give it much thought either, scoring but a single goal in his two appearances. It was against some team called Liverpool, who I’ve never heard of and surely aren’t much good, so that’s an easy one to get rid of.
New Haaland City goals total: 18 goals
The three goals scored when Phil Foden also got a hat-trick
We love Phil Foden, but he’s a clever, tricky attacking player rather than a pure goalscorer, isn’t he? His record supports this, with 60 goals in 222 games for Manchester City and three in 25 for England. Can get a goal, not an elite goalscorer. So if a team is letting him get a hat-trick, as Manchester United cartoonishly did in October last year then it stands to reason that this cannot be considered a proper or sensible game of football and that Haaland’s own hat-trick in the game should thus be struck from the record. If further evidence of this game’s outlier-anomaly-to-be-ignored status is needed – and it surely isn’t – then Anthony Martial scoring twice provides it.
New Haaland City goals total: 15 goals
The three goals when City didn’t even win
We’ve already explained how goals scored in games City would have won without them shouldn’t really count, so it stands to reason that goals scored by Haaland that didn’t even help City win the game anyway should also be struck from the record. That’s goals in a 3-3 draw against Newcastle and 1-1 draws against Everton and Aston Villa dealt with, as well as a reminder that City somehow managed to draw 1-1 with Everton. At home.
New Haaland City goals total: 12 goals
The three goals scored when he only touched the ball 16 times and on the same day Liverpool scored nine
Doubly embarrassing one for the big Norwegian, this. Not only did his quick-fire second-half hat-trick against Crystal Palace last August come in a game where he could only be bothered to touch the ball 16 times (seven of which were shots) but also on a day when Liverpool scored nine goals against Bournemouth. Clearly, Haaland was mucking about this day and scored his goals purely and spitefully in a bid to try and ride the coat-tails of Liverpool’s goal-plundering exploits. Tacky. Cheap. Tawdry. Only a fool would count them in a meaningful list of goals that count.
New Haaland City goals total: nine goals
The two goals scored in the city of his birth
Two reasons: one, you can’t really call goals scored against Leeds proper goals, can you? Everyone scored goals against Leeds. And second, he was bound to be more comfortable in the cosy familiar surroundings of the West Yorkshire environs he called home for the first three years of his life. Daft and unfair to rank those alongside goals players have scored in cities they have never lived in at all.
New Haaland City goals total: seven goals
The one goal with the muted celebration
We hate muted celebrations. We’d genuinely scrub off all goals that are followed by performative non-celebrations if we had Arsene Wenger’s job (hey, it’s less mad an idea than his offside ramblings). You should celebrate more when you score against your former club, if anything. Go really wild. Emmanuel Adebayor – now there was a man who had the right idea. Some would say it’s needlessly harsh to chalk off an 84th-minute Champions League winner against Borussia Dortmund for a reason that is quite this small and twatty, but to be honest we’re really, really struggling now. If you hadn’t noticed.
New Haaland City goals total: six goals
The three remaining goals assisted by Kevin De Bruyne
Oh, you can score goals when you’ve got the world’s best playmaker just popping them on a plate for you? How very impressive. And by the way, we were being sarcastic. Other players at other clubs don’t have the advantage of De Bruyne making their lives easy like this. Any fair comparison between Haaland and others therefore requires De Bruyne-assisted goals be removed to ensure the statistical robustness of the dataset.
That takes care of the second goal against West Ham on the opening weekend of last season, the opening goal of his hat-trick against Wolves in January and City’s third goal against Leicester in April. Getting close now.
New Haaland City goals total: three goals
The one goal against a newly promoted club
Luckily we’ve already got rid of a lot of these in our other fair and even-handed categories, but there should definitely be a Promoted Side Tax for goalscorers. These goals are ones with the distinct whiff of the flat-track bully about them, hammered past plucky little teams still blinking at the bright Premier League lights having clambered their way up heroically from the Sky Bet. That’s the goal against Sheffield United the other week dealt with anyway.
New Haaland City goals total: two goals
The one goal from a goalkeeping howler
We’ve already got rid of two-thirds of Haaland’s hat-trick against Wolves in January thanks to Penalty Tax and KDB Tax, but his third goal came after Jose Sa dropped a bollock and gifted the ball to Riyad Mahrez, who duly laid on the easiest of finishes for our hero. We’re marking this a bit like an unearned run in baseball, because we can and frankly at this stage must.
New Haaland City goals total: one goal
The one route one goal
We’re so very close. The only Haaland goal that has survived every other attempt to kill it off is the opening goal in a 3-1 win over Brighton in October last year. Hard to claim it was flabby – he scored two that day (the other a penalty) so his goals decided the outcome and it was the opening goal anyway. It came after a two-hour scoring drought as well – a remarkable barren run for Haaland – so can’t even be dismissed as just a freakish run of form. And it came against a good side. It was at home, so chalk it off for that if you like, but that’s just silly. Stop being silly. You’re allowed to score goals at home. Why are you trying to discount Haaland’s goals for silly reasons? Embarrassing for you, that.
But are you allowed to score route-one goals? For Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City? No. We’re not interested in any of your lumpy bumwater about Ederson’s ability with the ball at his feet or how this was a long pass not a long ball and that there’s a significant difference because Glenn Hoddle said so once. In my day, goals assisted by the goalkeeper were called route one and that was not a compliment. There. Done it.
New Haaland City goals total: zero goals