Elite Goal Scorers Who Are Poor Footballers: Haaland Listed After Man City vs Arsenal Game

Elite Goal Scorers Who Are Poor Footballers: Haaland Listed After Man City vs Arsenal Game

Martin Moses
updated at April 1, 2024 at 9:08 AM
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Erling Braut Haaland logo
Manchester City logoFNorway logo
Bas Dost logo
B. Dost
NEC Nijmegen logoFNetherlands logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Marcos Alonso logo
M. Alonso
FC Barcelona logoDSpain logo
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães logo
Arsenal logoDBrazil logo
Manchester City logo
Manchester City
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ENG Premier League
  • Erling Haaland has come under sharp criticism for his lack of involvement against Arsenal
  • The Norwegian striker was subdued in the game by Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba
  • The 2023 Gerd Muller Award winner leads the list of elite scorers who are poor footballers

There was no hiding for Erling Haaland after Anthony Taylor blew the final whistle in the Manchester City vs Arsenal contest on March 31.

The Gunners had managed to get a valuable point in a stadium they had only won once in their last 16 visits. But of greater significance to Mikel Arteta was how his team arrived at the result.

Erling Haaland, Gabriel Magalhaes, Manchester City vs Arsenal, Bas Dost, Mario Gomez, Victor Osimhen, Marcos Alonso
Erling Haaland challenges for the ball against Gabriel Magalhaes during Manchester City's game against Arsenal on March 31. Photo by David Price.
Source: Getty Images

His centre-backs were phenomenal all-around in thwarting Haaland and the entire Pep Guardiola machinery. So much so the City boss claimed that they would have to 'kill someone' to get the better of the North London team.

Emphasis was placed on Haaland, who yet again blanked against another top side. The Norwegians' detractors have always argued he is 'useless' against teams that play low blocks or in games where he is deprived of service.

The 23-year-old is one of the best finishers in the game, but his other aspects of the game left Roy Keane comparing him to a 'League 2 player'.

The discussion seems a little bit flawed, given that a striker's main role is to score goals, but for Haaland, it will be more difficult to win hearts as the best player in the world if the only thing he brings to the table is scoring 'a million' goals inside the box.

On a day when Arsenal made it difficult for Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and the like to find him with passes, Haaland was merely a passenger in the game. He recorded only seven touches in the first half. Against Liverpool at Anfield on March 10, Mohamed Salah, who was introduced in the 61st minute, had more touches than him.

Highest-scoring 'bad' footballers

The 'robot', as he is referred to by a section of fans, isn't the first player to score a lot of goals but offers very little in other phases of play. Here's Sports Brief's list of good goal-scorers but bad footballers. It sounds ironic but play along.

1. Mario Gomez

Mario Gomez retired having scored over 200 goals in his professional career. He also won the 2013 Champions League with Bayern Munich, among other honours.

But for some, he wasn't the player one would go to for flashiness or anything out of this world. He was a pure striker who thrived inside the area to finish chances. Twitter user, @lastdanceszn, has referred to Haaland as the Norwegian Mario Gomez.

2. Bas Dost

If you think Haaland is the best one-touch striker you have ever seen, think again. While at Sporting Lisbon, Dost set a record for the most first-touch goals in history, as captured by Daily Mail.

The Dutch forward scored 45 goals at the first time of asking without taking a second touch. The 34-year-old has scored 269 goals in his career but has only set up his teammates 59 times.

He is yet to play competitively after collapsing on the pitch in October last year.

3. Marcos Alonso

It may be unfair to include a defender in this list, but the former Chelsea defender was one of the best goal-scoring players in his position. Transfermarket reports that he has scored 45 goals in his career, which is decent for a defender.

Despite his exploits going forward, Alonso was always a defensive liability, especially during his Chelsea days. His lack of pace exposed him greatly in his full-back position.

4. Victor Osimhen

The jury is still out for the Nigerian striker after his performances at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. The Napoli forward excelled in another category than scoring goals, which we haven't seen much of in his club football.

His link-up play has been compared to Nicolas Jackson amid rumours that Chelsea will line him up as their new number 9. Traits of what he can do off the ball are visible, but like everyone else on this list, his stronghold remains upfront with many chances presented to him.

Side note

There seems to be a reduction of complete strikers in the game. Harry Kane remains the blueprint of a perfect striker who can dribble, create chances and finish them, with Newcastle United's Alexnder Isak also following a similar trajectory.

Haaland's goals, despite his little to no contribution in other phases, helped Manchester City to a treble last season, and you bet Guardiola will care less about what Keane or any other person thinks.

Haaland, Magalhaes share words after City vs Arsenal

Sports Brief has also reported that Haaland appeared to congratulate Magalhaes after the game.

The duo were having an animated conversation before Guardiola stepped in and separated them.

Afterwards, the two players linked up again and shared a warm hug before applauding their fans.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)