EPL

Halaand 'not just City's but the Premier League's', says Carragher

By Sports Desk October 03, 2022

Erling Haaland feels like he belongs to the Premier League as much as he does Manchester City, believes Jamie Carragher.

The Norway international continued his stunning start to life in the English top flight with another hat-trick in Sunday's 6-3 derby demolition job against Manchester United.

It was the Leeds-born attacker's third consecutive three-goal haul in a home league game – a competition first – and furthers his tally for the season to 14 in eight games.

Now, former Liverpool defender Carragher, speaking as a Sky Sports pundit, feels the 22-year-old's talents are something to be savoured by fans up and down the country rather than just at one club.

"He's not just City's, he's the Premier League's [player]," Carragher said on Monday Night Football.

"That's what it feels like to me. It felt like that when he joined, it was something to be enjoyed by the whole Premier League."

Carragher's fellow pundit Gary Neville echoed his sentiments, adding: "I can't think of another time where the Premier League has signed a player in the last 30 years where you've thought [they are] a world star.

"[Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Thierry] Henry, [Virgil] van Dijk, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Mohamed] Salah – all these players have gone to be some of the best in the world. They weren't that when they signed into the Premier League.

"But what we've signed here is somebody that everybody knew was going to be one of the best in the world."

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    Spain coach Luis de la Fuente believes he is working with the best group of players in world football after La Roja clinched their place in the Euro 2024 knockout rounds by beating Italy.

    Spain were drawn into what many believed to be the toughest group at the tournament but have made light work of some difficult opponents, thrashing Croatia 3-0 before overcoming Italy 1-0 on Thursday.

    They have clinched top spot in Group B with a game to spare, with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal handing them their deserved victory over the reigning champions.

    Spain fired off 20 shots to Italy's four in Gelsenkirchen, also creating 1.9 expected goals (xG) to the Azzurri's 0.18 and enjoying 57.2 per cent of the possession.

    This is just the second time La Roja have started a European Championships tournament by winning their first two games to nil, after they beat Czechia 1-0 and Turkiye 3-0 in 2016.

    The likes of Nico Williams, Lamine Yamal and Pedri all dazzled against Italy, leaving De la Fuente convinced he is in charge of the most talent squad at the Euros. 

    "I think we're the best in the world in terms of interpreting various match situations," De la Fuente said at his post-match press conference.

    "Of course, that is really reinforced and strengthened when you win silverware. 

    "But I think it's important to really underline the quality of this generation of players, the players that have broken into this squad. I think the Spanish players are the best in the world."

    While De la Fuente now has the luxury of being able to rest players against Albania on matchday three, he knows there can be no room for complacency in the last 16.

    "I think we were superior across the board from a footballing perspective," he added. "Perhaps it even seemed that Italy played badly, but that's because we played very well.

    "Italy won the Euros three years ago. We're still a long way off winning the European Championship. We haven't yet achieved anything. Okay, we've won some important matches. We have wonderful prospects.

    "But football can also be very cruel. So we need to be cautious. We need to be humble. We need to show respect."

  • Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw

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    Having opened their Group C campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia last week, England failed to clinch top spot with a game to spare as they were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

    Harry Kane put the Three Lions ahead after 18 minutes, but they soon fell into old habits and sat deeper against a lively Denmark side, who levelled through Morten Hjulmand's ferocious 25-yard strike.

    While England remain on course to top Group C, sitting two points clear of Denmark and Slovenia, who they face on matchday three, their performance put Southgate under more scrutiny.

    England have attempted just 17 shots – seven of them on target – in their two games at Euro 2024, amassing a total of 1.85 expected goals (xG).

    Scotland are the only team to have played two matches and created a lower xG total, amassing just 0.78 in their 5-1 defeat to Germany and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

    Speaking at his post-match press conference, Southgate said: "Clearly, we're disappointed with the level of the two performances we've had, so we've got to go and analyse that in depth and find solutions to addressing the issues we have.

    "We know the level can be higher. Maybe the biggest thing is we have to accept the environment that we're in and the expectations that are around us. At the moment, we're falling a little bit short of that.

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    Trent Alexander-Arnold came in for particular criticism after retaining his place in midfield, despite no England player bettering his three chances created or five line-breaking passes, even as he was substituted after just 54 minutes.

    In their 2-1 extra-time win over Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, England recorded 31 per cent of their open-play touches in the final third.

    That figure was down to 17 per cent on Thursday as they struggled to progress the ball, with 34 per cent of their touches coming in their own third.

    Southgate believes the absence of Phillips – who was omitted from the squad after failing to nail down a starting spot with either Manchester City or loan club West Ham – has been a difficult problem to solve.

    Asked about Alexander-Arnold's display, Southgate told BBC Sport: "He has had some moments where he has delivered as we thought. 

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  • Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas: Hat-trick hero Musa excited by new attacking style Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas: Hat-trick hero Musa excited by new attacking style

    Petar Musa scored a hat-trick in FC Dallas’ thrilling win over Minnesota United in midweek, and he is thrilled with the attacking set-up under interim coach Peter Luccin.

    Dallas beat Minnesota 5-3 at home on Wednesday, making it three games unbeaten.

    The club dismissed Nico Estevez on June 9, and Musa suggested Luccin has let the team off the leash from an attacking standpoint.

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    “We are more offensive now, we have a lot of players who run behind and we started playing more attacking football.

    "We scored five goals at home so you can see from the build-up that we play attacking soccer. I am very happy about the new style we are implementing.”

    Luccin added: “I’m thankful and grateful for the effort from the players. It’s very important for me that the effort has been fantastic. I’m very pleased with some of the sequences that we had, playing good football and very vertical.

    “Overall, the goals that we conceded, sometimes we need to be a little bit smarter. All the players have been fantastic. Five goals at home, I think the fans were very happy.

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    Next up for Dallas is a trip to the northwest, to face the Seattle Sounders.

    Dallas are one place and two points below Seattle in the Western Conference.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Seattle Sounders – Jackson Ragen

    Ragen scored his first MLS goal in Seattle's 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo last time out. He is the seventh different player from the United States to score for the Sounders in MLS play this season, equalling their number from all of last season.

    FC Dallas – Petar Musa

    Musa’s hat-trick took him onto eight MLS goals for the season, four more than any other team-mate.

    He is the sixth Dallas player with a hat trick for the team since the beginning of 2017, tying them with D.C. United for most such players with a hat-trick in that time.

    MATCH PREDICTION: SEATTLE WIN

    The Sounders are unbeaten in 20 straight home matches across all competitions against Dallas (16 wins, four draws), in a run dating back to August 2011.

    They could equal the longest ever unbeaten home run by one MLS team against another here (21, achieved twice).

    With Dallas winless in 11 MLS road games dating back to last October (three draws, eight defeats), we expect the Sounders to claim a slice of history.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Seattle Sounders – 47.5%

    FC Dallas – 26.4%

    Draw – 26.2%

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