The impact of Erling Haaland in a football match has undoubtedly seen Manchester City go through the gears.
The Norwegian has dazzled, and has looked every inch the world class centre-forward that many already knew after his exploits for Borussia Dortmund.
A goal total of 14 in only nine games says it all. However, there is no doubt that his emergence has caused another forward player’s shine to dim slightly.
Riyad Mahrez was City’s leading scorer in all competitions last season.
Given that he only scored 11 goals in the Premier League, it’s possible that it went mostly ignored. But it was his cup scoring form that catapulted him to a highly amazing 24 goals. Seven came in the Champions League, as City advanced to the semi-finals.
But he hasn’t had much of a kick this season. He’s only started twice in the league and has only played 223 minutes without scoring or assisting.
His drought actually stretches 12 games, going back to the tail-end of last season. Of course, many will say that confidence can only be bred from having an extended run in the side – something Mahrez has not enjoyed this term.
City have already shown their faith in the 31-year-old, after awarding him a fresh contract just this summer.
He said upon signing it: “Obviously, last year I scored a lot of goals and helped the team to achieve things like everyone else. I think I am in a very good moment.”
That comment looks out of place right now. But the hope for the Algerian will be that a busy October – eight games are pencilled in next month – presents him with the chance to show just what he is capable of and remind City fans of his pedigree.
Grealish to leave city?
Grealish has told friends that he does not expect to be at Man City next season, according to Football Insider.
The 27-year-old appears to believe that Guardiola’s tactical setup is not bringing out the best in him, and he fears that he made a big mistake joining a team with such tight passing routines.
The former Villa midfielder is believed to have grumbled that he does not get enough ball at City.
Looking at Grealish’s underlying statistics, one could argue that his time with the Premier League champions was vastly underappreciated.
As per FBRef, compared with positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, the England international ranks in the top 1% for progressive carries, the top 2% for touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 3% for pass completion.
Hailed by Guardiola for his ‘incredible’ debut at City, Grealish has joined a team of superstars – a stark contrast to life at Villa Park – so things were always going to be different at the Etihad.
However, he is definitely contributing positively to the Sky Blues, so the harsh criticism that he often receives can be unfair.