After a second consecutive Premier League hat-trick, bet365 have priced up Erling Haaland to score a record-breaking 40 goals at 8/1.
Every man and his dog had their opinions on Haaland and how he’d fare in England, and they could be split into two distinct groups: those who thought he may struggle with injuries; that he was coming into a more demanding league, that he’d take time to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s style, and those who were right.
Of course, Haaland’s long-term fitness still has a question mark over it, but it’s starting to look like he could miss half the season and still be in the running for the Golden Boot.
His current goals/90 is a ridiculous, unprecedented 2.07. At that rate, if he played every minute of the Premier League this season, he’d end on 79 goals. Even Lionel Messi’s best over a season was 1.56, while Cristiano Ronaldo has never touched 1.40.
A word of caution though – Guardiola has already claimed that when City have two games a week, Haaland is unlikely to play both.
But he did play against Crystal Palace at the weekend, scoring a hat-trick, and played 68 minutes against Nottingham Forest, scoring another hat-trick.
The Norwegian was priced at just 9/2 to bag a hat-trick on Wednesday night – backed by more than a thousand customers – and he’s 11/1 to bag three more against Aston Villa at the weekend.
bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “With the uncertainty of how Haaland would handle the Premier League, as well as his injury record and the possibility of rotation with the infamous ‘Pep Roulette’, we were happy with our 20/1 about the 22-year-old scoring 35 or more top flight goals this season.
“However, we’ve quickly taken the axe to that price on the back of two hat-tricks in just five days, and just like Tyrone Mings and Co this weekend, we’re a little nervous of how this is all going to end.
“Messrs Cole and Shearer scored their record tally of 34 in a 42-game season. At this rate, Haaland could get this done before the World Cup, when ominously for Premier League defenders, he’ll be getting a six-week rest!”
The biggest Haaland has been for Top Goalscorer was 7/2, but with rival Mohamed Salah’s slow start to the season, the City man was cut from 6/4 into 8/13 after the Palace hat-trick, and is now 3/10, despite being just five games into the season.
So many of Haaland’s goals at Dortmund came in transition periods, where he could use his strength and pace to finish off moves – the theory was that he might not get quite as much space at City, with teams defending deeper, but thus far nobody has found the answer
Bournemouth kept Haaland relatively quiet, in that he had eight touches throughout the whole game, but perhaps at the expense of monitoring other players, who scored four between them.
At West Ham, we saw him dart in behind twice, winning a penalty for the first of his brace; against Newcastle, he scored a poacher’s effort inside the six-yard box; his two hat-tricks have seen close-range headers and open-goal tap-ins.
The only goal we’re yet to see him score is a 30-yard thunderbolt, but the nature of his – and City’s – game means we’re never likely to see one, not that it’s needed. It will be fascinating to see how long this hot streak continues, and whether teams are able to find a way to keep Haaland quiet.
But based on how the first few weeks of the season have gone, the sky appears to be the limit.