Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has broken the club record for the most goals in a single season. He scored five as his side thrashed RB Leipzig in the Champions League, laying down a significant marker to the other teams still left in the competition.
Haaland has already scored 39 goals in all competitions for City, but with still more than a quarter of the season to go, there is every indication that he has not finished yet.
Bundesliga side Leipzig had held City to a draw in the first leg in Germany, and travelled to Manchester in the hopes that they could join Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
That hope lasted as long as it took Haaland to open the scoring from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute – the decision somewhat harshly given for handball – and it had completely evaporated by half-time, by which time Haaland had completed his hat-trick.
Ilkay Gündogan added a fourth after the break, before Haaland continued his scoring spree with two more.
When manager Pep Guardiola took Haaland off in the 63rd minute, City were already six up, but the German side’s miserable night was not yet over. Kevin de Bruyne made it seven in injury time, as the Premier League completed an 8 – 1 aggregate victory.
Since joining Manchester City in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has now scored 39 goals in all competitions. He has now overtaken the club’s all-time record of goals in a single season, previously held by Tommy Johnson in the 1928-1929 season, who managed 38 goals in that campaign.
28 of those goals have come in the Premier League, and he is all but certain to win the Golden Boot this year, currently eight clear of Tottenham’s Harry Kane in second place.
In his sights now will be the record for the most goals scored by a player in a single Premier League season, which is jointly held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer. Cole scored 34 goals for Newcastle United in the 1993-1994 season, a landmark that Shearer equalled the following year in the colour of Blackburn Rovers.
Haaland is also clear in the race to win the European Golden Shoe because his nearest competitor is again Kane.
Meanwhile, he has also become the youngest player to have scored 30 Champions League goals.
Arguably the fact that his country, Norway, did not qualify for the World Cup has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as far as player and club are concerned. It means that he is fresher than he might otherwise have been as the season begins to enter the sharp end.
A shot across the bows
This will be sixth consecutive year that Manchester City have reached the last eight of the Champions League.
They have yet to win it, the closest they came was in 2021, when they reached the final, only to lose to fellow Premier League side Chelsea.
Manager Guardiola has indicated, that, for all the domestic success that they have enjoyed under him, his era in charge of the club will be defined by what they do in Europe.
And that is one of the reasons why Haaland is the highest paid player in the Premier League, to make the difference in matches like this.
The result against Leipzig is a real shot across the bows for the teams remaining in this year’s competition. Leipzig were by no means cannon fodder – they are one of the best teams in Germany, but they were humiliated on the night.
Nobody will want to draw City out of the hat when the last eight draw is made in Switzerland on Friday.
Already highly competitive, by adding Haaland to their attack, they will be feared by everybody.
City’s next match
City are next in action on Saturday when they host Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals, the team now managed by their former captain Vincent Kompany. If the Burnley defenders do not want to have nightmares for the next few days, they would be best advised not to watch the tapes of Haaland’s display against Leipzig.
He will already be licking his lips at the prospect of adding to his tally further.
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