THERE’S an unwritten rule here at Dream Team HQ that states we never ignore a hat-trick.
Given that the player in question usually banks 28 points as a result of scoring three goals in a game, we feel it’s always worth remarking on in one way or another.
But boy, is Erling Haaland (£8.8m) putting our rule to the test.
gettyJust another day in the life of Alfie Haaland’s son[/caption]
Manchester City’s No9 scored all his sides goals in a 3-0 win over Wolves on Sunday to register his FOURTH hat-trick of the season.
The prolific striker is collecting match balls at such a rapid rate that it’s difficult to find a fresh angle each time.
Behold the Haaland paradox: when a hat-trick is both simultaneously unremarkable and astonishing.
Making a big thing of the Norway international’s performance at home to Julen Lopetegui’s side is like highlighting the fact the sun rises in the morning.
Equally, the fact he’s made scoring hat-tricks normal is incredibly abnormal.
To put the frequency with which Haaland is bagging triples into context, consider that Sergio Aguero currently holds the record for most Premier League hat-tricks with 12, achieved over nine and a half seasons.
Given that Haaland has four in half a campaign, we can perform a fun though experiment in which he remains a Etihad resident for as long as the legendary Argentine while maintaining his current rate, and therefore finishes his City career with 76 Prem hat-tricks.
That’s obviously not going to happen but those numbers underline the freakish nature of his debut season on these shores to date.
gettyWhere is he keeping all the match balls?[/caption]
Ruud van Nistelrooy previously held the record for the least amount of games needed to register four Premier League hat-tricks – the Dutchman achieved the feat in 65 outings, 46 more than Haaland.
The list of players with fewer hat-tricks to their name in England’s top flight includes revered goalscorers such as: Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Keane, Son Heung-min and Jamie Vardy.
On four hat-tricks, he’s currently level with Mohamed Salah (£8.6m) , Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham, Fernando Torres and other notable names with years of Premier League experience.
If Haaland didn’t already have the Golden Boot sewn up then he surely does now – he’s on course for 50 league goals for crying out loud.
Harry Kane (£7.6m) is his closest competitor and the England captain is ten goals adrift.
Records are tumbling
There’s a similar gulf at the top of the Dream Team rankings.
The 22-year-old is 92 points ahead of the next-best forward, Marcus Rashford (£5.4m), and 84 points ahead of his nearest rival overall, Kieran Trippier (£6.3m).
To put that lead over the Manchester United man into context, Aleksandar Mitrovic (£5.1m), who is enjoying a brilliant campaign by anyone’s standards, has 91 points in total.
Haaland’s current tally of 256 points means Ronaldo’s all-time record of 477 in a single season is genuinely under threat – a reminder that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the only quadruple centurion in our beloved game’s history.
Let’s circle back to this topic the next time he scores a hat-trick… call it a fortnight.