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Erling Haaland is the best player in the world and Man City is unbeatable

MANCHESTER, England — Erling Haaland is the best player in the world right now, and he has transformed Manchester City from a great team to one that is capable of sweeping everyone else this season.

Just ask Manchester United, beaten 6-3 at the Etihad on Sunday after another Haaland hat-trick.

Phil Foden also scored a hat-trick on an extraordinary day for Pep Guardiola’s side, but the star of the show once again was Haaland, the £51m summer signing from Borussia Dortmund who is rampaging through Premier League defenses as a teenager playing against a 9-year-old.

Haaland, 22, has 14 Premier League goals this season, more goals than 14 other teams in the league, and 17 goals in 11 games in all competitions for City. That includes hat-tricks in successive home games against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and now United.

– Broadcast on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (USA)

Just to underline the impact Haaland has made so far in a City shirt, he can now claim to have scored as many Premier League hat-tricks (three) as Cristiano Ronaldo. Haaland has caught up with the United striker after just eight games.

Michael Owen had been the fastest player to score three hat-tricks in the Premier League. He needed 48 games for Liverpool to bag their third, so Haaland is simply erasing records that were expected to stand for decades.

There was something poignant about the fact that Ronaldo spent the full 90 minutes on United’s bench while Haaland tore his team apart. Ronaldo has been at the top of the world game for more than a decade, sharing billing as the world’s best player with Lionel Messi during that period, but the 37-year-old will now know that the baton has firmly passed to Haaland. after seeing it up close at the Etihad.

“What Erling is doing, he has done in Norway, Austria and Germany, that’s the reality,” City manager Guardiola said. “With the quality we have next to him, he helps him score goals.

“What he’s done, how he scores, how he moves, his incredible instinct to know when the ball is coming, I’ve never taught him anything. He got all of that from his parents.

“I’ve had amazing centre-forwards in my career, but what I like about Erling is that, even at the end of the game, he’s still involved and wants to be part of the situation. But his talent is to put the ball in.” the back of the net: he’s a fantastic striker, fantastic.”

Kylian Mbappe is perhaps the only footballer who could argue that he should be placed higher than Haaland as the best in the world, but the France striker has only 11 goals in 10 games for Paris Saint-Germain this season. His numbers pale into insignificance compared to Haaland’s.

Haaland and Mbappe are going to dominate the world stage for years to come, just as Messi and Ronaldo have for the past decade. Neither of them have won a Champions League yet, but it would be a pretty safe bet to suggest that one or the other will soon.

It is a great shame for football that Haaland is not at the World Cup this year due to Norway failing to qualify – the game’s biggest competition without its best player will certainly lack something in Qatar.

But Haaland’s absence from the World Cup will only make him and City better this season. While his rivals expend physical and psychological energy in Qatar, he will rest and prepare to play again, fresher than the rest, in the second half of the season.

It’s a sinister prospect for City’s rivals. They were already the best team in England before Haaland’s arrival, but although they are still behind the early leaders Arsenal, in the title race, it seems to be only a matter of time before Guardiola’s behemoth comes to the fore. top and away before disappearing over the horizon.

United were the first Big Six team to face City and Haaland this season. Before the derby, it could have been suggested that a soft start to the campaign had helped Haaland improve his stats and that the first big challenge would give us a clearer picture of his capabilities.

However, after United’s 6-3 thrashing, we have a pretty clear picture, and it’s the same as before: Haaland is virtually unstoppable.

He has pace, power and fantastic movement. He also has a real goalscoring instinct, which allows him to get into positions most strikers don’t see. His second goal against United, when he slid around the far post to convert Kevin De Bruyne’s cross, was a classic example of Haaland seeing a hole when others didn’t.

United had no answer for Haaland, but Foden was just as powerful and damaging for Erik ten Hag’s side. Haaland and Foden seem to have struck up an instant rapport at City, and it shows in their understanding of each other’s runs around the penalty area.

Haaland could have scored his first Manchester derby scoring five goals, such was his ability to create chances. United got away with it, but another team will have less luck. No player has ever scored six in a Premier League match (Sergio Aguero, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole are among a small group who have scored five), but if anyone can do it, it will be Haaland.

The bitter reality of United is that they almost signed him three years ago. But when former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought he had a deal for the player he made his debut as a teenager at Molde, the United hierarchy refused to put a buyout clause into Haaland’s contract, and he left FC instead. Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund.

It looked like a decision that would come back to haunt United, and it certainly did on Sunday. It probably won’t be the last time it happens either.

Erling Haaland is simply unplayable at the moment and if he maintains his form, City will win everything this season.

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