Having scored 28 Prem goals with ten matches to play, including four Prem hat tricks one another in the FA Cup, it’s hard to imagine that anyone has any chance of snatching this prize away from the 22 year old. He’s scorched opponents left and right…and yet, there’s something just a bit off about Haaland. For as devastating as he’s been, one can make a case that a significant part of his success is the excellence of his supporting cast, the sheer dominance of Man City over just about everyone else in the league.
Is it crazy then to think that one of our young Gunners could nab this coveted prize from the Norwegian behemoth? We have a few candidates who, should we actually win the Prem, boast of impressive achievements of their own. Haaland’s dominance aside, our lads might suffer from the more egalitarian approach we seem to be taking. No one in our squad is even close to touching Haaland’s statistics.
The only one who even comes close is our starboy, Bukayo Saka. He’s been almost as talismanic as Haaland, but his 12 goals and 11 assists (the only player to reach double figures for both so far and possibly the only player will do so this season) only scratch the surface of what he does. In the absence of Gabriel Jesus, defenses were able to focus on him all the more, double-teaming him and making him one of the most-fouled players in the Prem. Despite that, he’s been one of our most-incisive players. Should he add to his total, and should we hoist that trophy, Saka probably has the best chance at earning this individual honour. Might his status as an Englishman be a factor? It’s possible.
I’m going to go out on a limb with this next one: William Saliba. He’s been imperious. If he were to deliver a masterclass when we visit the Etihad, somehow pocketing Haaland so well that we can a snatch a win or an even more-famous win, all bets are off. His excellence has led to his winning possession in the defensive third 112 times, than any other player in the league. You might expect a CB playing for a side that struggles with possession to win more out of necessity, but not here. As with Saka, his own stats tell just a part of the story. He’s so reliable that White and Zinchenko have become more like attacking midfielders than wingbacks, and that’s been vital to our attack. Not many CBs have made a similar impact at either end of the pitch, nevermind at both.
Oh, captain, my captain. Could Haaland’s own countryman seize this coveted honour? Martin Ødegaard may have “only” ten goals and six assists, but there have been (perhaps premature) suggestions that he’s been better than de Bruyne and will could someday be as good as Bergkamp (he does tick several important boxes: blond. Extremely one-footed. Scandinavian-ish (let me have that last one)). Let’s focus on now, though. Like Saliba, he devours the ball, winning possession 40 times in the attacking third, more than any other player. Once he has the ball, his 62 key passes have sliced opponents open with the elan of a sushi chef. His leadership has been vital, his class undeniable.
Even if Haaland’s coronation arrives with the grim inevitability that seems to accompany every other Man City success, we have at least these three scintillating footballers nipping at his heels. If they power us to that Prem title, anything could happen.
Last thought: before you go, let me invite you enter “Aprilphernalia”, a chance to win some Arsenal paraphernalia (clever, eh?). It’s simple: comment on this posts and you’ll be entered in a drawing for an Arsenal Direct gift card worth £25. The more you comment, the better your chances at winning. See the “Comments” page for more details. I hope to be hearing from you!
sorry mate I don’t see anyone beating Haaland to this. Saka comes closest but he’d have to finish with 20+ goals and 15+ assists while Haaland hits a Giroud-like drought.
Never say never!if Harland’s injury slows him down and Saka heats up, anything can happen just like John says!
You might be right, I might be crazy…
I just don’t see any way anyone but Haaland gets it. I hate to say it, but the player who might deserve it more is Kane. Even though he’s playing with a bunch of dross, he’s still in the hunt for the Golden Boot. CIty without Haaland would probably be pretty much right where they are. Spurs without Kane would be lucky to stay in the top half.
Kane? That would fit perfectly with his quest to only ever win individual words and never silverware with spurs.