Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Darwin Nunez could still overtake Erling Haaland at Liverpool as Man City must face the uncomfortable truth

Darwin Nunez could still overtake Erling Haaland at Liverpool as Man City must face the uncomfortable truth

Before the season began, comparisons between Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Darwin Nunez of Liverpool were unavoidable.

The top two teams in the league, whose rivalry had defined an era, had spent a combined £136 million on two new number nines despite previously playing without a true center forward.

However, it quickly became apparent that Haaland had set a level that Nunez would be unable to reach.

The Norwegian has astonishingly scored 18 goals in his first 13 Premier League games. A little over a third of the season has passed, and he has already scored enough goals to surpass the 1997/98 and 1998/99 Golden Boot winners. 

A little over a third of the season has passed, and he has already scored enough goals to surpass the 1997/98 and 1998/99 Golden Boot winners. 

The rate at which he has been scoring is astounding. In the premier league, he averages one goal every 57.8 minutes and 1.56 goals per 90. If he played the remainder of the Premier League season, he would finish with 55 to 56 goals.

If he played the remainder of the Premier League season, he would finish with 55 to 56 goals. These are the statistics that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi posted in La Liga during their primes.

In addition to Chelsea, he has outscored Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, West Ham, Everton, Nottingham Forest, and Wolves on his own. That constitutes over a third of the division.

And yet, despite all of these mind-boggling data, you still find yourself wondering whether he has improved Manchester City.

A few dissident voices highlighted this worry at the beginning of the season, citing Manchester City’s point totals under Pep Guardiola. Were they as close as ideal as they could be?

It was not a personal attack against the player, but rather an acknowledgment that Manchester City would have to alter the strikerless system that had delivered the Premier League championship. He would be the missing clinical finisher, but his arrival would necessitate concessions.

On Saturday, Haaland failed to score for just the third time in the Premier League this season, as Manchester City was stunned 2-1 by Brentford.

The result gave them a record of 10 victories, 2 ties, 2 losses, and 32 points after their first 14 matches. Equal to what they had accomplished at this point in the previous season.

The difference, however, is that although they were just one point behind the leaders (Chelsea) in 2021/22, they are currently five points behind Arsenal.

Manchester City’s performance in the Premier League has not improved since Haaland’s arrival, despite the possibility that he may be a difference-maker in tournament play, particularly in the Champions League.

Obviously, Liverpool are in a far worse position than they were at this point last season. They were third with 31 points, only behind Chelsea and Manchester City, but are now sixth with only 22.

Regarding Nunez’s impact, however, it is too early to draw judgments. He has played 52.7% fewer Premier League minutes than Haaland, who has played 1,040 minutes. Additionally, the Manchester City player has made nearly twice as many starts (12 vs seven).

There are indications that Nunez is regaining his elite goal-scoring form, as the Uruguayan has scored four goals in his previous six Premier League games and seven in his last ten overall.

Only after he establishes a consistent run of starts following the World Cup break will we be able to determine whether or not the club’s record signing can actually lift the team. Liverpool may eventually succeed where Manchester City has failed thus far.

Darwin Nunez could still overtake Erling Haaland at Liverpool as Man City must face the uncomfortable truth

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