The stats are in and it’s actually true: Manchester City really don’t pass the ball to Erling Haaland

Dave Tickner
Erling Haaland reacts to missing a chance

Can it really be true that Manchester City don’t want to pass the ball to Erling Haaland, a striker who scores all the goals? Sounds like that would be really daft, but we’ve had a look and the answer is in fact yes. It is true.

Once you strip out goalkeepers (obviously) and players who’ve played only a handful of minutes, you’re left with only four who receive fewer passes per 90 minutes than City’s goal-hungry automaton.

If we tell you that three of those four are Jamie Vardy, Diego Costa and Brennan Johnson, we promise you could have 200 guesses and not identify the fourth. Have a try. No cheating.


10. Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham) – 19.5 passes received per 90
Genuinely staggered only one Moyesballer scrapes into the top 10.


9. Yoane Wissa (Brentford) – 19.3
This is definitely a player who should get the ball more often. But we’re not about to tell Brentford or Thomas Frank how to go about their business. Little clue for the earlier poser for the non-cheaters. He’s not the last Brentford player. You still won’t get it.


8. Adam Armstrong (Southampton) – 19.2
We don’t want to be cruel, but some of these are more understandable than others. Although maybe Armstrong would have more than one goal and one assist from 21 appearances this season if you pricks gave him the ball occasionally? Something to think about, anyway.


7. Cheikhou Kouyate (Nottingham Forest) – 18.8
It’s slightly more than Dean Henderson (17.7) in what we’ve just discovered is our favourite game. We have a sad, pathetic life.


6. Callum Wilson (Newcastle) – 17.7
At least it’s significantly more than his goalkeeper, with Nick Pope a tick under 10 passes received per 90. It’s not something Haaland can say because Ederson gets a whopping 23.3 per 90. They really do pass to everyone apart from Haaland.


5. Erling Haaland (Manchester City) – 17.4
It’s utterly ridiculous when paired with that ludicrous number of goals. And remember, he’s producing these tiny numbers in a Manchester City side that does all of the passing. They’ve completed 14,445 passes this season, almost 3,000 more than the second passiest team in the league which is, hilariously, Chelsea. City complete 601.9 passes per 90 minutes, which means a tick under three per cent of their passes go to the big isolated record-breaking Norwegian.


4. Mads Roerslev (Brentford) – 17.0
Told you. Poor Mads. Why don’t the other boys like him?


3. Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest) – 15.6
He’s doing quite useful things with those few passes he receives, mind. Not quite Haaland things, but five goals and two assists for a cosily mid-table Forest is absolutely fine for the 21-year-old.


2. Diego Costa (Wolves) – 15.4
Those 15.4 passes per 90 minutes have produced 0.0 goals and 0.0 assists per 90 minutes, numbers which still trail his yellow card (0.26) and red card (0.13) records.


1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – 12.1 
Vardy has only received 160 passes from his Leicester team-mates this season and has little to show for them. Danny Ward has only a single goal fewer than Vardy, but to be fair he has received well over 400 passes so should probably pull his finger out.