HomeSportHaaland's Misses: City's Draw...

Haaland’s Misses: City’s Draw with Chelsea

Even the most elite strikers encounter forgettable days, as Erling Haaland experienced in Manchester City’s draw against Chelsea on Saturday.

The Premier League‘s leading scorer attempted nine shots without finding the net, marking his highest shot count without scoring in any of his 79 appearances for the club. These were clear opportunities, notably a Kevin de Bruyne cross that Haaland met but missed horribly wide, with City trailing 1-0 late in the game.

At one point, it seemed City’s impressive unbeaten streak at the Etihad Stadium, dating back to November 2022, would come to an end. However, Rodri’s 83rd-minute strike salvaged a point and halted Chelsea’s resistance.

City couldn’t secure a win, and have slipped behind Liverpool and Arsenal in the title race. Nonetheless, manager Pep Guardiola attributed the draw more to a lackluster first-half performance than Haaland’s inability to convert.

Seven of Haaland’s efforts were headers, including the one he sent soaring over the bar from Julian Alvarez’s cross in the opening minutes.

Haaland’s xG (expected goals) was 1.71, his highest without scoring in any game for City. Despite this, only two of his attempts troubled Chelsea’s keeper, and he missed clear chances with both his feet and head.

Guardiola, acknowledging his limited scoring record as a player, refrained from offering specific advice to Haaland, confident that the striker will rebound in the next game.

“It’s good he had nine shots – the next game he is going to score,” Guardiola said afterwards.”Listen, I was a football player. I played 11 years and scored 11 goals. What a stat, hey? One goal a season, those are my stats. So, I am not the proper man to give advice to the striker, and what they have to do.”

“We created the chances, he had the chances and next game he is going to score. I don’t blame [him for] that… it is football, it is human beings. It is just as a team, as a group, in the first half we did not perform at our level.”

Rodri’s goal extended his unbeaten streak to 55 games, but he recognized City’s subpar defensive showing in the first half, which contributed to the draw. Additionally, he felt that key decisions went against his team.

“It’s a point, a draw, of course we want to win and the way we performed [in the] second half we deserved a bit more, but when you defend like we did you can’t get more,” he explained.

“It was in our hands and we have to do better individual actions and you can’t let the game go this way. I’m not blaming anyone but we have to take responsibility if we want to win the league.

“We had chances to win and I felt the momentum, but sometimes it’s a bit frustrating and the ball doesn’t go in. I don’t want to talk abut the referee, but I don’t remember a game with so many VAR checks and none for us, come on man. You always see the face of referee and it’s now ‘move on, move on’.”

City now sit third in the table, trailing Liverpool by four points but with a game in hand. They have the opportunity to narrow the gap and overtake Arsenal if they secure victory against Brentford on Tuesday.

“There’s still a long way until the end of the season,” added Rodri. “We have to win against Brentford.

“We were on a very good run and we know none of us three [City, Liverpool and Arsenal] will win every game until the end. We have to have strong mentality and move on to the next one.”

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