The Norwegian is without a doubt the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle in Pep Guardiola’s team. Haaland is a physical entity with a goal instinct that is already unparalleled on the island. After 33 matchdays and just as many goals, the ex-Dortmunder is by far the top scorer.
But Haaland is more than just the best scorer in the world. The 22-year-old gives City a new playful tool that Guardiola appreciates: “Seeing his joy when his team-mates score is a good description of what kind of guy he is.”
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Guardiola shows flexibility
So he represents a new tactical component, which did not exist in this form at City under Guardiola. But the coach also shows an undreamt-of flexibility. Pep trusted his new weapon from the start and didn’t force Haaland into a tactical corset.
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City in the premier class was regularly over early. Also because Guardiola repeatedly gambled away with surprising tactical changes in big games.
But the 52-year-old now trusts a fixed group of permanent staff and only rotates a little. De Bruyne in particular is the constant support, the playing heart of the Citizens: “He’s a special player and person. If he’s fit and mentally happy, like all of us, and can reach his potential, he’s unstoppable in this position.” , his coach recently explained.
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De Bruyne is already in his eighth season at City. The Belgian leads all of Europe with 24 assists in all competitions, and the 31-year-old also had a brace in the top game against Arsenal. The 87-time national player is experiencing an outstanding season and, as the supposedly best playmaker in the world, is probably one of the top candidates in the election for world footballer.
But other regulars like Ilkay Gündogan, John Stones, Jack Grealish and goalkeeper Ederson also consistently impress at the highest level. Guardiola builds and relies on an axis of stability.
Off the pitch, the English champions are outstanding anyway. City is the financially strongest club in the world, with top transfers hardly any club can keep up with the payment power of the Skyblues. A decisive advantage that Haaland also owes to City.
After 17 unbeaten games, the champions are in top form at the end of the season. In the Premier League, the Citizens are just two points behind Arsenal, who have already played two games more. Real Madrid are waiting in the semi-finals of the Champions League and city rivals United in the final of the FA Cup.
Haaland, Guardiola, De Bruyne and the ability to pay make City the best team in the world at the moment. The triple could possibly follow soon.
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