Erling Haaland shines in front of Pep Guardiola as Borussia Dortmund striker showcases power, pace and playmaking ability amid ongoing Manchester City transfer talk

Erling Haaland may not have scored against Manchester City, but the Borussia Dortmund striker certainly showed the hype is very real.

After ten goals in seven Champions League games this season, the 20-year-old from Leeds came into the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final with supreme confidence.

Phil Foden stole the show, but Erling Haaland did not disappoint either
AFP

Pressure is something Haaland seems to thrive under; be it in front of goal or in front of the camera with journalists, and the pressure coming back to Manchester was firmly on his young shoulders.

Having been paraded around every premier club in Europe over the past fortnight by agent Mino Raiola, many expected the clash against City to be something of an audition.

With Sergio Aguero leaving the club at the end of the season after a decade leading the line, Pep Guardiola will be keen to recruit a superstar striker to replace the Argentine.

So how did Haaland fare in front of his potential new manager? talkSPORT watched the game to analyse the superstar striker on his return to England.

Haaland fluffed his lines after just three minutes with a poor touch in front of Guardiola

It could not have been a worse start for Haaland, who attempted to offer an option down the line for Raphael Guerreiro in order to escape the Man City press.

However, the ball skidded helplessly off the bottom of his boot and out of play for a throw in.

It was right in front of the Spaniard, with the Norway striker almost careering into Guardiola as he tried to regain possession.

The first sniff of an opportunity came when Jude Bellingham showed incredible skill and drive to wriggle into the City box and force a save out of Ederson, but John Stones beat Haaland to the rebound to clear.

The Dortmund striker was not particularly dynamic with his pressing, something Guardiola will have surely noticed
AFP

Haaland is renowned for being a poacher – 49 goals in 50 Dortmund games is proof – yet he also has incredible link up play.

In particular, his movement to drop deep and support Bellingham on the counter attack in the 16th minute showed his underrated IQ and drew a foul for his side.

But as the half hour mark approached, it became clear there may be one area he needs to work on in order to convince Guardiola – his defending.

The 6ft 4ins striker is languid and deceptively quick for a big man, yet he was content to drop deep and jog back when Rodri picked up the ball on the centre-backs. City are renowned for their intense pressing style and one would guess Haaland would be no exception.

The 20-year-old striker sent Ruben Dias flying in a tussle, but will lament his missed opportunity

In danger of going five games without a goal for club or country, Haaland started the second half like a man on a mission and showed incredible pace and power to get in behind Man City.

Ruben Dias has been a rock alongside Stones this season, yet the Portuguese was put on his backside with consummate ease and Haaland managed to stay on his feet.

Although his shot at Ederson was tame after he was knocked off balance, clearly he has the physical attributes necessary to compete in the Premier League.

Yet his crowning moment came with just seven minutes of normal time remaining when Bellingham fizzed a ball into his feet as he dropped deep again in the hope of creating something for the visitors.

Haaland showcased his ability to play deeper with a fine assist for Marco Reus

A first time pass into the path of Marco Reus landed perfectly at the captain’s feet and he showed incredible composure to get the equaliser.

For all his goals and freakish statistics, Haaland is a clever footballer and capable of dropping deep to vacate space in behind for runners from deep.

With Ilkay Gundogan scoring for fun this season and Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez tucking in to provide a goal threat from the wings, such an attribute could be invaluable.

Speculation about what was said between the striker and match winner Foden at the full-time whistle will continue to rage long after the game itself, yet Haaland proved he is more than just a goal scorer at the Etihad.

There is no doubt about what Guardiola thinks. The City boss told reporters after the game: “He’s a top player, we know at that age you can link with him, he’s strong, top quality, top class player.”

With the tie finally poised before the return leg at the Signal Iduan Park, do not be surprised if he has another say before this Champions League quarter final is concluded.

Source: Sport

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