After Manchester City suffered a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, Erling Haaland was criticised by Jamie Carragher for not being the right fit at the Etihad as he isn’t always heavily involved in building attacks.
Ilkay Gundogan defended his teammate in quotes to Sky Sports Germany (h/t Sport Witness), however, suggesting Haaland’s outstanding goalscoring record proves he fits in the team.
Gundogan said: “If you score 25 goals in 20 games, you fit into a team! Our game has become a bit different because of Erling’s qualities. Both he and the team have to adjust to that. We’ve already had outstanding games in this campaign, and I can remember that a few weeks ago everything was hyped up.”
The 22-year-old is 18th in the City squad for passes made per game (13.9) and 21st in the squad for pass completion (76.3%). No first-team player has a worse passing accuracy than Haaland, so it’s fair to say he’s not a typical Pep Guardiola signing.
Carragher went a little further, however, by suggesting the Norwegian international is harming City and saying it’s like the Sky Blues are playing with ten men at times because Haaland isn’t as composed in possession.
The 22-year-old has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring 31 goals with three assists. Haaland scored past 10 of his first 12 Premier League opponents (83%) but has netted in four of City’s last eight (50%) and his teammates haven’t picked up the slack.
City have lost three of those eight games, conceding two or more goals in two of their previous four, so Pep Guardiola has a task on his hands to turn things around. Arsenal are five points clear atop of the league ahead of gameweek 23, so City can’t afford anything less than a win over Aston Villa to avoid losing ground.
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