Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo Impact Not the Same


Yes, Manchester United was worse because of Cristiano Ronaldo last season, despite his goals. No, the same doesn't apply to Erling Haaland and Manchester City this season. Let me explain.

Let's start with the numbers. In the 2020/21 season, Manchester United scored 73 goals and finished second. In the 2021/22 season, Ronaldo joined and scored 18 premier league goals, the third most in the league, but as a team, Manchester United only scored 57 goals, their least in five years. This -16 goal difference, despite his success, occurred because Ronaldo scored goals in a self-serving manner. He was not as interested in the overall attacking output of the team as he was in his goal-scoring record. It meant players like Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford took a step back to cater to Ronaldo's preference, which was good for Ronaldo but bad for the team. It resulted in a 6th place finish and the first time since 1990 that United did not finish with a positive goal difference.

What about Haaland this season? Is it the same? Is Manchester City also scoring fewer goals despite Haaland's goal-scoring form? No.

Eighteen games into last season, Manchester City scored 44 goals. Eighteen games into this season, Manchester City has scored 46 goals. So, the team is scoring more goals because of Haaland's presence.

The difference is, at this point last season, City had only conceded nine goals, but this year, they've let in 18, and that's down to the injuries they've had at center back, not Haaland.

Last year, Aymeric Laporte played 33 league games, the most of any City center back, but this year, he's only played 4 of 18. Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake were both brought in as backup options, but both have played more minutes than 2020/21 EPL Player of the Year, Ruben Dias, who has had his injury issues and has only played 12 of 18 games.

So now you see the difference between Haaland's and Ronaldo's goals. One's goal-scoring impact has helped the team score more goals than without, while the other's impact led to the team scoring 16 less.

I hope you now have the context to analyze this conversation from the correct lens. And if you have friends who are still in the dark, please educate them. 

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