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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Ian Whittell

Erling Haaland eying Dixie Dean’s 95-year-old record in debut Premier League year

Manchester City's Erling Haaland scores their side's third goal of the game, completing a hat-trick. Photo: PA

There is a statue for his illustrious predecessor Sergio Aguero outside the Etihad, along with one for Burnley manager Vincent Kompany, whose side were on the end of a 6-0 drubbing on Saturday. But it is another, 35 miles away on Merseyside, that Erling Haaland may now have in his sights.

Dixie Dean is still the benchmark for freakish goalscoring achievements in an English football season – 63, including 60 in the top flight, in 1927-28. His achievements, immortalised with a superb statue unveiled outside Goodison Park in 2001, were thought to be beyond any player in the modern game.

But, implausible as it may sound, after a week in which he scored nine goals in 134 minutes over three games, Haaland may be in the conversation for that sort of return.

City, should they reach the finals of the FA Cup and Champions League, could have 18 games remaining in their season and Haaland is scoring at the rate of 1.14 goals per game, with 42 in 37. Should he maintain that strike rate, and play in all those games, it would mean an additional 20 goals – and a total of 62.

Dean’s colossal achievement, of course, is most striking for his 60-goal league return, in 39 games – a mark which would require Haaland, or a contemporary, to average 1.6 goals a game to equal.

But, even allowing for a return of “only” 28 goals in his 26 league appearances so far, there are any number of Premier League marks that are well within the Manchester City man’s sights.

The most Premier League goals scored in a season stands at the 34 netted by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, in the age of a 42-game season in the early 90s. With 11 league games remaining, Haaland would be a good bet to score the seven goals he needs to overtake that.

With Haaland so prolific in cup competitions, he is even closer to the record for most goals, in all competitions, scored in a single season since the Premier League’s debut campaign in 1992-93.

That total, of 44, is jointly held by Ruud van Nistelrooy, in 2002-03, and Mohamed Salah in 2017-18.

At the rate of goalscoring he displayed against Crystal Palace, Leipzig and Burnley last week – one goal every 15 minutes – it would take Haaland another half of football to score the three goals he requires to become the first player in the modern era to net 45 in a season.

His hat-trick against Burnley in the FA Cup at the weekend was his sixth in his 37th game. For perspective, City’s all-time record goalscorer Aguero required 175 games to score the first half-dozen of his club-record 16 career hat-tricks.

Haaland’s greatest achievement, perhaps, lies in the fact that he is already deserving of comparisons with Aguero, who scored a record 260 goals in his decade at the club.

Already, Haaland has set a City record for most goals in a season, easily eclipsing the 38 that Tommy Johnson scored in 1928-29.

Most hat-tricks in one season (six), most consecutive games in which he has scored (10), most Premier League goals in a season (28), most home goals in a Premier League season (18), most goals in a single European game (5), most European goals in a single season (10)... with every passing week, City records are tumbling.

The only question is how many more Haaland will own by the time this season ends. 

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