Erling Haaland: Twitter thread reveals Man City star's unreal football IQ

  • Kobe Tong
Man City's Haaland celebrating.

Erling Braut Haaland is an extraordinary goalscorer.

Ever since the Norwegian phenomenon truly started his goalscoring rampage with 29 goals in just 27 games for Red Bull Salzburg, nobody has been able to stop him from producing truly head-spinning tallies.

From Austria, Haaland then proceeded to tear up the Bundesliga as he amassed no less than 86 strikes across 86 appearances for Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland’s unreal goalscoring record

Marry that to his sensational record of 20 goals in 21 caps for the Norwegian senior team and Manchester City were given all the evidence they needed to know that Haaland was well and truly the real deal.

Besides, you know you’re one of the most fearsome finishers in the land when you’re scoring pretty much a goal every single game.

And despite the odd doubting cry from naysayers when Haaland took the next big step in his career by moving to the Etihad Stadium, it’s hardly taken him more than a few weeks to prove his haters wrong.

That’s because the 22-year-old is at it once again with a staggering record of six goals in five games for Manchester City.

Haaland terrorising the Premier League

Having opened his Premier League account with a ruthless brace at West Ham United, the City’s new goalscorer in chief snatched a goal at Newcastle United and then plundered a hat-trick against Crystal Palace.

Such is the extent of Haaland’s early goalscoring spree, in fact, that the Telegraph reported this week tthat some rival Premier League managers have been calling one another to discuss how to actually stop him.

They’re said to be “startled by his physical and technical attributes,” with one unnamed coach quoted as saying that he’s “like an alien … stronger, taller, faster than anything we have seen before.”

So, what’s the secret to Haaland’s lethality in front of goal? Well, as much as the City star is undoubtedly a physical specimen, many of the secrets behind his unbridled success come down to the mental side of his game.

Haaland scores for Man City.
Soccer Football – Premier League – West Ham United v Manchester City – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 7, 2022 Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Tony Obrien EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Twitter thread on Haaland’s scanning

And that most fascinating aspect of Haaland’s talents has been superbly unpacked in a Twitter thread by Geir Jordet – an expert in football psychology and a professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences – this week.

Jordet, who has previously conducted extensive research into the world of ‘scanning’, masterfully breaks down all the micro-decisions, glances and movements that go into each one of Haaland’s goals.

It goes to show that what might seem like a straightforward tap-in, say, is actually a tapestry of conscious adjustments and tactical moves made by Haaland that you can trace back to long before the net is actually rippled.

But trust us when we say that our explanation couldn’t possibly compete with Jordet’s own, so be sure to hear the genius of Haaland’s goalscoring from the man himself by checking out his viral Twitter thread:

The genius behind Haaland's goals.
How often different footballer scan.
The ways that Haaland scans.
Haaland works out how much space and time he has.
Haaland studies a goalkeeper's posture.
Haaland's football IQ is superb.

Gosh. Maybe he is a cyborg for real.

Haaland’s football IQ

It’s hardly earth-shattering news that players look around themselves during games to assess the positions of defenders and teammates, but the rapidity with which they conduct these analyses truly is head-spinning.

Many amateur footballers have a hard time looking up from the ball when they’re in possession, never mind constantly taking note of tactical positions and pockets of space while the game’s going on around them.

And seeing the extent to which Haaland taps into the cerebral side of the game with often as many glances as seconds to compute information like which leg the goalkeeper is leaning on really is remarkable.

Man City's Haaland and Guardiola.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Crystal Palace – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – August 27, 2022 Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their fourth goal with manager Pep Guardiola REUTERS/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Plus, there’s the data to suggest that Haaland conducts these scans far more often than average, so it’s not simply a case of all Premier League footballers doing the same thing to the same extent.

So the next time you watch Haaland tearing up England’s top-flight with another loot of goals, be sure to watch those replays even closer because it’s in those tiny, almost insignificant seeming, head movements that the damage is done.

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