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John Stones and Nathan Aké Deliver Erling Haaland Verdict Ahead Of Premier League Opener

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John Stones and Nathan Aké Deliver Erling Haaland Verdict Ahead Of Premier League Opener

After Erling Haaland’s addition to a near-perfect Manchester City side, it has seemed like a foregone conclusion to many that the Sky Blues will become Premier League champions next season.

In the previous two campaigns, perhaps the only chink in Pep Guardiola’s side was the lack of a clinical striker.

During the 2021/22 season, this was particularly evident as the side failed to register a goal in four league games, despite eventually lifting the domestic crown.

The arrival of one of Europe’s most prolific marksmen is expected to make such worries a thing of the past.

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The Norwegian international boasted a goalscoring record of 80 strikes in 86 appearances - which just goes to show why he is classed in and amongst some of the very best in the world.

Haaland and Alvarez in Community Shield action (REUTERS / Alamy)
Haaland and Alvarez in Community Shield action (REUTERS / Alamy)

To add to that, City have perhaps been the finest chance creators in Europe since Guardiola’s appointment in 2016.

However, Haaland’s list of doubters have grown rapidly ever since his forgettable competitive debut in City’s 3-1 defeat against Liverpool in the FA Community Shield.

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The former-RB Salzburg hero was at the periphery of things throughout the contest and made headlines for all the wrong reasons by missing a gilt-edged open goal chance.

The youngster made a meal out of yet another golden opportunity in the first half, while his first touch was far from its best on the day.

While the 22-year-old’s first outing in Sky Blue drew stick from fans and pundits alike, the likes of John Stones and Nathan Aké have blocked all the noise by singing their new teammate’s praises.

“I think he will bring goals. He is such a presence, such a big kid," he began.

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"Physically he is very able in all aspects and that is so difficult because he has pace, he has power, his finishing with both feet, his aerial threat as well; I played against him two seasons ago and he causes problems,” Stones said, as quoted by Simon Bajkowski of Manchester Evening News.

Erling Haaland will play alongside Phil Foden this season (REUTERS / Alamy)
Erling Haaland will play alongside Phil Foden this season (REUTERS / Alamy)

Nathan Ake added: “I think he is a very good player.

"He has already shown that over the last few years and the time he has been with us for a couple of weeks already. He will be good for us.

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"He can play in behind, he can play short, so I think he is just a big threat in all areas.

"I think he is going to be massive for us this season.”

While it comes as no surprise that a player of Haaland’s stature will draw criticism, the ones that see him day in and day out are assured that City have a gem on their hands.

He can prove that on Sunday, when the Blues take on West Ham United in their Premier League opener.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy

Topics: Manchester City, John Stones, Erling Haaland, Premier League

Srinivas Sadhanand
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