Manchester City’s Erling Haaland scores a hat-trick against Manchester United

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland
Photo: Getty Images

Unless you’re wearing blue, there’s an overwhelming sense of injustice in the English Premier League this season. We already had the richest club in the world, with the best coach, the best team, maybe the best passer in the world, and we’re just going to add the best finisher there is. As he recovered so quickly this season, you couldn’t help but wonder why anyone was bothering (and it seems only Arsenal are, and with serious questions about how much longer he can). It felt like trying to beat your older brother, but in real life not just video games. The world is falling apart around you, repeatedly.

Erling Haaland at Manchester City has lived up to most everyone’s worst nightmares, so extravagantly and ridiculously that he’s probably done it again and you just have to look in awe at the numbers and the ferocity.

First the numbers. Haaland scored his third consecutive hat-trick at the Etihad against Manchester United today. He’s the first to ever do it. Here’s something galactically stupid:

Let’s rack your brain even further:

The record for goals in a Premier League season is Mo Salah’s 32. Haaland has reached 44 percent. The season isn’t even a quarter over. Salah also set the English record for goals in all competitions in a season with 44. Haaland has 17 and it’s 2 October. Domestic cup competitions haven’t even started yet for City, and there have only been two Champions League games. The mind wanders to where the numbers could end up.

This is just the stat sheet. Knowing the numbers isn’t nearly the whole story. Watching Man City, especially when they are in full flow, there is no heavier sense of impending doom. It’s been mostly that way for the past few seasons, but there was some slim hope that they could find a way to kill off one of the glorious chances they’ve always consistently created. The brief flicker of light, any kind of restraint to avoid sinking into the depths has vanished in the most vicious way. You know exactly where it’s going now, and everyone is powerless to stop it.

The temptation is to mock Haaland as simply finishing easy chances, but nobody who says that yet, and it’s a dwindling few, really believes it. The instincts of being in the right place at the right time, the sense of time and space, simply cannot be taught. If he could, everyone would. Heck, we could turn USMNT’s Jesus Ferreira into this by November if it were that easy.

Get Haaland’s second goal today. It seems easy at first glance:

And it has to be said: De Bruyne’s pass is pornographic. But De Bruyne made pornographic passes throughout his City career. United’s Raphael Varane knows that Haaland is there and that he is the only priority. And yet Haaland continues to find plenty of space. Sure, Haaland’s 6-3 helps, but there are plenty of tall forwards. Haaland drops to the ground a pace earlier than you’d expect, which leaves him in position to make solid contact on a pass that fades away from him, and one you see most players only get a finger on. He does this all the time. His amazing goal against Dortmund was no different.

His hat trick goal:

Again, this looks ridiculously simple, and the build game is excellent (with some direct United dropping help). But Haaland makes it look easy. That ball falls to him and the control to easily sweep it into the goal is not just an everyday thing. How many of these have you seen put into orbit? There is no doubt what Haaland will do with it.

Sometimes Haaland wasn’t very good with his head or that he didn’t contribute in any way other than us scoring. Well, his first goal was a header today, and he had two assists. So this is fun.

Your humble correspondent once wrote of Haaland’s arrival at City that it was terrifying, but really how much better could City get? They are putting up 90 or more points on the season and scoring around or over 100 goals already. Would they really put in 150? Of course, I and anyone else who said it did so out of fear, convincing ourselves that it wouldn’t happen. Well, he’s on pace for 138 in the league alone right now.

We are all King Theodinos. “What can men do against such hatred?” (Yes, Two Towers was on TV last night.)

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