Erling Haaland: The stats that prove Roy Keane may be right about League Two scorer being better that Man City striker

Erling Haaland: The stats that prove Roy Keane may be right about League Two scorer being better that Man City striker

Mark Kinyanjui 14:32 - 02.04.2024

The current League Two top scorer's all-round game stats prove that Man United legend Roy Keane may be justified on his controversial remarks about Erling Haaland.

Manchester United legend Roy Keane's comments on Erling Haaland's performance during Manchester City's goalless draw against Arsenal have ignited a fiery debate on social media platforms.

The former midfielder-turned pundit did not mince his words when assessing Haaland's gameplay, suggesting the Norwegian striker's overall performance was subpar, even likening it to "almost League Two" level.

In Sunday's match, Haaland failed to find the back of the net, despite being presented with a golden opportunity late in the game to secure a win for his team.

 This marked his fifth consecutive game without a goal for club or country, a surprising statistic given his reputation as one of the most prolific goal scorers in modern football. 

Nevertheless, Haaland remains on track to secure a second consecutive Golden Boot, with 18 goals to his name so far this season, placing him two ahead of Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins.

Keane's comments came during his appearance on Sky Sports following the draw between City and Arsenal. While acknowledging Haaland's prowess in front of goal, Keane emphasised the need for improvement in Haaland's general play, which he deemed lacking.

"The levels of his general play are so poor," Keane remarked.

"Not just today [Sunday]. I think he is laying stuff off, headers, whatever it might be. For his general play, for such a player, it is so poor. Not just today - he has to improve that. His general play has to improve, and it will do in the next few years."

However, what further fueled the discussion surrounding Haaland's performance were recent revelations comparing his stats to those of Macaulay Langstaff, a player in League Two with Notts County.

His comments may be justified following a shocking revelation. Notts County’s Macaulay Langstaff is the current top goalscorer in League 2 with 24 goals and six assists, but his all-round play statistics are sensationally almost similar to Haaland’s.

In-possession stats

According to SofaScore, Haaland has scored 18 league goals and provided five assists this season, but he averages 22 touches per game, and attempts just nine passes a match.

Longstaff averages 25.4 touches a game, and passes the ball an average 12 times a match. He is also slightly better with his defending. 

Haaland averages 1.19 progressive passes, and just 1.14 progressive carries per 90. For context, Langstaff makes a combined 3.12 carries and passes a match

Off the ball stats

While Haaland only makes 0.2 tackles and interceptions a match, Longstaff makes 0.5. Both have a similar ball recovery rate of 1.4 times. 

Haaland wins 2.9 duels a match, while Longstaff does it 2.6 times.

It may be a stretch to compare someone who plays against inferior players three divisions lower, but the fact those numbers are kind of similar indicate Roy Keane may have a point after all.

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