Erling Haaland needs to consistently perform in the coming years to be considered a great player in the Premier League, according to Les Ferdinand.
Haaland scored City’s second goal in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over West Ham, bringing his season total to 51 in all competitions.
In the top flight alone, Haaland scored 35 goals, breaking the Premier League record of 34 held by Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole, although the duo broke those numbers during a 42-game season.
According to Opta, Haaland’s league goals came from xG 26, a testament to his brilliant finish. In fact, he scored nine goals more than you would expect given the quality of the chances he was given and the position he shot from.
35 – Erling Haaland has scored 35 Premier League goals this season, more than a player in a single campaign in the English top flight since Ron Davies in 1966-67 (37). Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/FaRiUbSsPi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 3, 2023
According to Ferdinand, Haaland’s next challenge will be to replicate his extraordinary form in the coming seasons.
“It’s too early to tell as these guys have been doing this all the time for years,” Ferdinand told Stats Perform.
“Haaland did it this season and he has been phenomenal this season but he will be judged by what he does for the next X years.
“I think a lot of strikers will say you can have an exceptional year, but can you repeat it, can you repeat it and can you repeat it?
“It looks like he can, but until he does, it’s hard to categorize him as a great striker. He’s just had a phenomenal season this year though.”
Asked what makes Haaland so special, Ferdinand replied: “His pace, his strength, his ability to score with his left foot, his right foot and his head.
“You know, I’ve always talked about Harry Kane and I’m sorry that I keep coming back to Harry Kane, but he’s relevant. I used to say that he is a full-fledged centre-forward, and Haaland is quickly becoming one.
And while Ferdinand is still wary of calling the Norwegian a great player in the Premier League, he sees no reason why the 22-year-old cannot fulfill his potential.
“I think in the way he plays, if you look at him from his [Borussia] Dortmund days, do you think he got better? I think so,” Ferdinand added.
“I think with the manager and coaching staff that Man City have and the players he plays with at the moment, you can’t help but get better. I think the better player you play with, the better you get.
“It will certainly raise the bar for him. Because as a centre-forward, after scoring 20 goals next season, you want to score 22, 24 or 25 goals.
“You want to score as many goals as possible, so 1683228616 he broke the record at 34 and he will aim to break the record he set. Then this is the benchmark to which people should strive.”
Erling Haaland: record holder
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland has broken the record for goals in a single Premier League season, but which of the top scorers has he beaten?
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) May 4, 2023
Indeed, Ferdinand does not believe that next season Haaland will be more difficult.
“Looking at the way he plays, his qualities and the team he plays for, no. I really don’t know, he said.
When it came to advice on how the defenders could stop Haaland, Ferdinand had only one idea.
“Knock him out early, this has happened before,” he joked. “I mean, you can’t do this anymore.
“You have to find a way, but like I said, it’s very difficult because you’re playing against a City team where Haaland scores all these goals, but that team has goals. So you say, “OK, let’s talk to him man to man.” Then you leave the door open for someone else to come in, so it will be so very difficult to stop.”
Haaland’s next target is Ron Davis, who scored 37 goals in 1966-67.
Davies was the last player to score more than Haaland in a single season in the English top flight.